NEIL Harris has dismissed the notion that referees are being deliberately tough on Millwall – but admitted there have been some “very, very harsh” calls against his side this season.
Jed Wallace’s red card against Burton (upheld after an appeal) was the latest of a series of controversial incidents that Harris believes have cost his side chances to gain more points.
Harris felt referee Tony Harrington was wrong to produce a straight red card after Wallace’s tackle on Brewers defender Tom Flanagan. It was the Lions' fourth sending-off of the season, after red for Lee Gregory and dismissals for two yellow cards for Aiden O’Brien and Jake Cooper.
In September, Millwall unsuccessfully appealed Gregory’s sending-off at QPR, while there have been other moments of controversy, notably the decision to disallow a Steve Morison goal on the opening day of the season at Nottingham Forest, and a failure to play advantage just before Gregory found the net at Brentford before missing the subsequent penalty.
Harris was asked if referees are judging Millwall based on reputation.
“I would hope not because the game has changed nowadays,” he said. “We’re not the Millwall team of old that myself and Livers [Dave Livermore] played in in the late 90s and turn of the millennium.
“So it would be disappointing if there was a pre-conceived idea of referees coming to give out these red cards.
“The red card at QPR I thought would be a very close call as to whether it would be overturned or go against us.
“No complaints about Jake’s or Aiden’s red cards, away from home you’re never going to get 50-50 calls.
“The one the other day was a really poor decision that went against us.
“But it’s not so much the red cards. Yes, the one [against Burton] impacted the game massively, same at QPR. The other two not so much. It’s the games that players miss and the impact on the squad.
“I would say refereeing decisions in general have been very, very harsh on us from the beginning of the season, going back to the goal disallowed at Forest.
“There was a slap on Jed at Bristol City that, no two ways about it, was violent conduct. There was the disallowed goal at Brentford which was hard to take and then we miss the penalty.
“And the decision at Cardiff not to give a foul and a red card right at the start of the second half. So we’ve had a lot of decisions go against us. It’s crazy.
“Will they start going for us? Well they’ve got to. It’s frustrating.”
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