Wolves are set to challenge the sending off of Matheus Nunes amid growing fears that poor referee decisions could determine the outcome of their relegation battle.
Nunes, an unused substitute in the 4-2 loss to Leeds, faces a three-match ban after being sent off by referee Michael Salisbury for his protests following Leeds’ fourth goal. Diego Costa, another substitute, had to contain Nunes after the red card, with Wolves furious over the decision not to award Adama Traore a free kick in the build-up to Rodrigo’s goal.
The wolves are ready to present video evidence that they believe will prove that Nunes did not engage in violent conduct. sport telegraph understands that Nunes was provoked by a comment made by assistant linesman Gary Beswick.
The FA will wait to review Salisbury’s report before considering an inquiry into the stormy end to Saturday’s wild competition.
However, it has emerged that Wolves are now unlikely to appeal against the sacking of defender Jonny, after reviewing the incident. Jonny received a straight red card for a late challenge on Luke Ayling. Head coach Julen Lopetegui insisted after Saturday’s game that Wolves would contest it, but the club dropped its appeal plan.
Wolves remain in relegation trouble and Saturday was an excruciating afternoon for Lopetegui, whose patience has been tested by officials since his arrival in the Premier League.
If points were awarded retrospectively for poor refereeing decisions, Wolves would be well out of the relegation zone. Lopetegui was only appointed in November, but says he could write a book about the controversies he has endured so far.
The charge sheet and the amount of apology from PGMOL boss Howard Webb is extensive: in January, Wolves were denied a late winner in the FA Cup tie at Liverpool because the Var had no camera angle to overturn the decision.
Later that month, the club received an admission that referee Graham Scott should have awarded a penalty in the Carabao Cup tie at Nottingham Forest for a foul on Nunes.
During their win over Southampton a month later, Mario Lemina was bizarrely sacked for “racing aggressively” against journeyman Jarred Gillett, which the FA admitted was wrong.
The inexplicable decision was made last weekend not to send off Newcastle goalkeeper Nick Pope for a foul on Raúl Jiménez, or to give Wolves a penalty.
For the sake of balance, the Wolves were lucky on Saturday that defender Craig Dawson wasn’t sacked for a poor challenge on Jack Harrison.
In a relegation battle, refereeing standards really matter
by john percy
Lopetegui says he still has faith in the officials, or he would leave. The only silver lining for Wolves is that these injustices are creating a siege mentality among players and fans.
The broader problem is that the PGMOLs are continually being defrauded by their officials. While there remain concerns about Var’s effectiveness, refereeing standards in the Premier League and below are regularly causing problems.
Fans across the country spend far too much time analyzing referees and officials after games. They are often becoming the story more than the players. Bile erupted from the stands at Molineux after the final whistle as Salisbury and his staff left the field.
When the stakes are high and relegation can depend on one or two points against teams, the quality has to be better.
Meanwhile, Leeds supporters were jubilant after a win that knocked them out of the bottom three and moved them to 14th.
With Harrison, Max Wober and Robin Koch standing out in particular, it has been a great performance from the team that will give Javi Gracia encouragement for the coming weeks.
Gracia was a surprise appointment, following the lengthy appointment process that followed the sacking of Jesse Marsch, but the performance at Wolves was evidence the players are on board.