Millwall boss reveals referee's amazing half-time self-assessment after Fulham loss

NEIL Harris revealed referee Andre Marriner told him at half-time he had had an “excellent” first half after the official disallowed a Millwall goal and offered too much “protection” to Fulham.

Millwall thought they had gone ahead when George Saville fired into the net but Marriner had blown for a foul by Jed Wallace, a decision Harris conceded was “50-50”.

Harris was more irked by the referee’s self-assessment at the break.

Fulham scored twice in 11 minutes after half-time through Ryan Sessegnon and Kevin McDonald before Aleksandar Mitrovic added a third with a minute left.

Harris was asked afterwards if he thought Tim Cahill had caught Ryan Fredericks with an elbow late on, and revealed the half-time exchange with Marriner.

“I didn’t see an elbow and it was right over at the other side of the pitch,” Harris said. “The referee thought he had an excellent first half so I presume he thought he made the right decision on that as well.

“I thought he did very well for the away team first half. I’ve not seen the goal back, Jed goes over the top of [the defender]. Is it a foul? As a defender I’d probably want a foul but as an attacking team you don’t want the foul. It’s probably a 50-50 call.

"I thought there was a lot of protection for Fulham from the referee in the first half. I thought he could have let a lot more go.

“But as he pointed out to me at half-time he thought he was ‘excellent’ first half. Open quotes, he was ‘excellent’, close quotes.

“We didn’t get beaten because of the referee, we got beaten because they scored three goals and we didn’t. I was just disappointed because I thought he could have let a little more go.”

The Lions are still sixth, but will drop to seventh if Derby get a result against Middlesbrough on Saturday.

Harris brought on Cahill, Tom Elliott and Aiden O’Brien late on, but the Lions couldn’t get back into the game.

It was Millwall’s biggest attendance of the season, 17,614, and they were applauded off the pitch after the final whistle.

“The standing ovation for the players at the end was respectful from our fans, realising where we are at the moment,” Harris said.

"We’ve played against a really good team that were better than us second half. First half we could have been out of sight after putting real pressure on.

“But we came out second half and didn’t do enough to stop the first two goals. Third goal is my fault, I stuck 27 strikers on the pitch, we were chasing the game and let in a third.

“The first two weren’t good enough.”

Image: Millwall FC 

John Kelly