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Alan Sheehan hits out at referee after Swansea concede late goal in Middlesbrough loss

16 Dec 2023 3 minute read
Alan Sheehan – interim Swansea City manager (Credit: Swansea City FC)

Phil Blanche, PA

Swansea caretaker manager Alan Sheehan hit out at the referee in Swansea’s 2-1 loss to Middlesbrough after home goalkeeper Carl Rushworth was punished for picking up Harry Darling’s back pass.

Sheehan felt it was a “brave call” by referee Matthew Donohue to punish Carl Rushworth 13 minutes from time.

“It was a crazy decision, whether it’s right or wrong it’s a big call,” Sheehan said.

“Is it an interception or a back pass? Carl Rushworth is one of the best keepers in the league with the ball at his feet, so for him to think he can pick it up tells me enough.”

This was Sheehan’s third game in charge and Swansea hope to appoint a permanent successor to Michael Duff before Friday’s home game against Preston, with Tottenham coach Chris Davies their preferred candidate.

“I’m more proud now than I was against Stoke (1-1 draw on Tuesday),” Sheehan said. “This was a step in the right direction, maybe two steps.”

Michael Carrick admitted he had not planned Middlesbrough’s winner at Swansea.

Substitute Samuel Silvera smashed home a 77th-minute free-kick from just a few yards out, breaching Swansea’s wall of defenders on the goal-line.

“It’s a strange one. I’ve not seen it for a long time,” said Middlesbrough manager Carrick, who recalled his former Manchester United team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo once scoring in similar circumstances at Old Trafford.

“It certainly doesn’t mean it’s a guaranteed goal because it’s not easy to find a way through.

“It was quite interesting to what the lads came up with because it’s not something you see often and therefore we haven’t planned for it. I’ll hold my hands up to that.

“But two of the younger boys (Silvera and Morgan Rogers) have been smart enough and said, ‘This is my moment, I know what I’m going to do’. That pleases me even more.”

Carrick insisted it was “definitely a back pass” and said he appealed for the free-kick on the touchline, adding that Boro deserved to end their three-game losing streak.

Sam Greenwood, on loan from Leeds, fired the visitors in front two minutes before the break, with Jamal Lowe heading Swansea level near the hour mark.

Carrick said: “I’m delighted with the boys for their effort and the spirit to get through a game like that where it didn’t come easily for us.

“It wasn’t a naturally free-flowing performance. We’ve had them recently and not won, so to do so this time feels good.

“There was a feeling before the game actually with the boys about finding a way to win and having that winning feeling. Sometimes you have those games where you have to find a way.”

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