Freedman hits out at Wigan players over penalty
7:00am Monday 16th December 2013 in Sport
DOUGIE Freedman accused Wigan’s players of railroading referee Kevin Friend into awarding a penalty in yesterday’s emotion-charged derby defeat.
The Wanderers boss was left fuming at the Rutland official after seeing him reverse a decision to penalise Matt Mills for handball.
Ben Watson converted the penalty and Wigan raced into a two-goal lead thanks to Nick Powell’s volley before Neil Danns’ header and another spot kick from Andre Moritz brought the Whites level.
Callum McManaman then capitalised on some sloppy marking to win the game for Uwe Rosler’s side – but Freedman was still demanding answers from the officials after the final whistle.
The decisive vote on the penalty appeared to come from Friend’s assistant, Anthony Tankard, but Freedman was upset with the behaviour of the Latics players, who surrounded him immediately after the incident.
“I haven’t got a problem with decision-making – referees are going to get some right, some wrong, and I don’t criticise them because it’s a hard business,” Freedman said after the game.
“But we sit in meetings where we are told not to surround referees or otherwise they will do something about it, and they didn’t and that’s disappointing.
“The perception is that he gave a corner, five or six Wigan players surround the referee in an aggressive way, and then he changes his mind and it doesn’t look very good.
“The second one was offside – a couple of them came from being two yards off, including Powell, and maybe the linesman is emotional because of the decision on the penalty. It’s disappointing again.”
Freedman admitted his side had not shown enough poise after getting themselves level at 2-2, resulting in another frustrating day for 4,634 travelling fans.
“We’d got great support behind that goal and we’d let them down at half time but I thought we picked ourselves up well and really went at Wigan,” he said.
“We got ourselves back to 2-2 but showed too much emotion on the pitch.
“That five or seven minutes in which we conceded a couple of corners – that’s where I will be looking at the performance of my players.”
Asked if he felt pressure after a defeat that leaves Wanderers 16th in the Championship table, Freedman was confident that the club are on the right track.
“I don’t really look at it that way,” he said. “I put more pressure on myself than anyone else will ever put on me.
“I have a passion to do well and this is a great opportunity.
“I see my responsibility to organise the players, make sure they are fit, and play to the best of their capabilities and I think they have done that.
“I need to make sure that the club is in a stable condition from the fans’ point of view and not spending silly money on players. On that point I think we have done well in the last year.
“Do we need to pick up some results? Of course we do.
“But by gelling all that together it is a recipe for getting results.”