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It's all own fault, says Aidy; CITY BOSS WON'T BLAME THE REF: Boothroyd OK with red for Gunnar.

Byline: Alan Poole

COVENTRY City boss Aidy Boothroyd refused to condemn referee Chris Sarginson for the controversial decisions that helped condemn his side to a 2-1 defeat against promotion rivals Norwich. The Sky Blues - denied an early penalty when Michael Nelson felled Clive Platt in the area - were reduced to ten men for twothirds of the game after Aron Gunnarsson was red carded for a foul that even Norwich boss Paul Lambert conceded was clumsy rather than malicious. But Boothroyd insisted his side had no excuses for twice leaving Canaries danger-man Grant Holt free in the box. And he shouldered the blame for exposing his defence by pressing for a winner after Marlon King's goal had clawed them back to level terms. "Yes I was tempted to shut up shop," said Boothroyd "because a point would have been a good effort in the circumstances. "But I reS ally believed we could win it which is why I was so bold with the tactics.

Our groundsman John Ledwidge and his staff worked very hard to get the game on so I thought sod it, let's have a go, let's do our bit and see if we can give the fans a win for Christmas. "It was a gamble which didn't pay off in the end, but they didn't really cause us problems from open play and they got the winner from a corner. That's very disappointing because normally we're really good at that - one of the best in the league - while statistically they're one of the worst. "We got punished because we didn't do the things we practice every day in training. It was a really naive error but the player concerned held his hand up and I admire that, so I shouted at him for a bit but now we move on." Boothroyd had no doubts that his side should have been given the opportunity to take control in the fifth minute. "We saw it at half-time and it's an definite penalty - Clive was taken out.

That's what the assistants are for - if the referee can't see it he needs some help - but we can't keep blaming the officials because it's all about what we do ourselves. Although Lambert thought that Gunnarsson was unlucky to be sent off for lunging at Henri Lansbury, Boothroyd insisted: "The referee got that one right - Gunnar made a mistake and we paid for it. "He's not malicious - he's the nicest Viking I've ever met -and he was just trying to get the ball. It didn't help that he slipped beforehand and the lad made a meal of it because he wants us down to ten men, but I don't blame him for that. "But the fact is that Gunnar had both feet off the floor and the letter of the law is that that's a sending off." Boothroyd also shrugged off suggestions that Lansbury himself might have been ordered off in the first half for taking a swipe at David Bell.

"I'm glad he did that because if he hadn't I might have done to liven him up," joked the manager. "But I don't think he's a malicious player either and, anyway, I don't want to talk about referees - well, I do but I can't. "We've just got to take it on the chin and make sure that when we go back to their place we give them as good as they gave us. And although the result hurts, I'm not depressed because I think a lot of good things came out of it. "We had to defend for long periods but I thought there was an assuredness, a confidence about us. "Against a team like Norwich., who are really good possession wise, some teams would have just caved in and got four or five. "We didn't; we were resilient and dogged, but we made some daft mistakes which is something you just can't do at this level."
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Dec 20, 2010
Words:654
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