IAN Holloway chose his words very carefully after official Bobby Madley made a string of controversial decisions in Millwall's defeat to Watford on Saturday.
The Lions were denied a penalty with the score at 1-1 when Ricardo Fuller went down in the box – moments before the Hornets took the lead from a contentious set piece at the other end.
Watford made the game safe in the second half when Andy Wilkinson was harshly penalised on the touchline and Gianni Munari scored after a quickly-taken free kick.
The 1,800 Millwall fans at Vicarage Road chanted '3-1 to the referee' at full time.
Asked for his thoughts on the man in the middle, Holloway said: "18 years I have been a manager and that's probably the hardest one I've had to stomach, to be honest.
"Football fans are usually quite accurate.
"But you've got to be able to deal with it and we got too emotionally involved in things. That was summed up by their third goal.
"I told the lads to keep their heads at half time and we came out looking like a really good team. Watford dropped off us and we needed the next goal.
"But a strange free kick was given and two or three of my lads were arguing about the decision when they took it, and you can't do that.
"You've got to deal with whatever the referee gives you. The ref didn't score the third goal, did he? That killed us.
"But I thought my team came here and played very well. How we've lost by two goals I really don't know. Those were two good teams out there."
Martyn Woolford had given the Lions the lead with a well-taken goal in the 12th minute but Matej Vydra stabbed in from close range to equalise.
Shortly afterwards, Fuller's appeals for a penalty fell on deaf ears.
"Ricardo looked really good, we scored a fantastic goal but we've got to do better from that corner for their first goal," added Holloway.
"It's a training ground routine and we haven't seen them do that before. It was a wonderful move, Vydra scored and let them back in it.
"We then felt we should've had something and we didn't get it.
"I make of it whatever the referee I made of it. I'm not paid to do his job am I? If I say what I feel, I'll probably get fined.
"I don't want to have to pay for my opinion – you write what you feel. You all watched the game.
"Ric never goes down. He tries to beat people and nutmeg people because that's what he does.
"We needed those things to go for us."
Alan Dunne was then penalised for a foul on Troy Deeney and Daniel Tozser scored from the dead ball to make it 2-1.
"If it is a foul, that's a red card not a yellow because he was the last man," Holloway said.
"Deeney himself said it wasn't a foul but if you're going to give it, then it has to be a red.
"We had a hell of a melee at half time and I had to get my lads back in but that whole situation was really strange.
"That's probably the strangest game I've ever seen. I saw things there that were strange.
"The referee has got to be able to make a decision that is based on the same for them and the same for us.
"Did Watford play well? Yeah, they did. Did they defend well? Yeah. Did we attack well and play well? Yeah.
"Did the referee have a good game? That's all I'm saying and that makes a huge difference. But I'm not blaming the referee.
"We should have dealt with their third goal, end of story. There are no excuses from me. Have I said the referee was bad? No."