Boss laments Ba equaliserRoyals boss Brian McDermott was left proud of his team after their best performance so far in the Barclays Premier League - but was rightly very frustrated after Demba Ba scored Newcastle's equaliser with his hand.
Goals from Jimmy Kebe and Noel Hunt had put the Royals deservedly in front, and they also hit the post at 2-2; they deserved to win but the fates simply conspired against them on the day. Brian said frankly, "I'm gutted for the players because we deserved to win the game.
"When you see the goal back it's such a shame because they've made a massive error. It's not just happened to us once this season, we had the offside goal at Chelsea so we're not getting a lot of help with big decisions. It was blatant, we knew straight away on the bench, our 'keeper has gone toward the other corner and if someone puts their arm out like that it's handball. Whether it was deliberate or not, it was handball. He went to head it, but he definitely didn't head it!"
Referee Andre Marriner was well placed, and Brian continued, "I'm finding it very difficult to see why he didn't see it, but we have to live with it. You feel worse after a goal like that of course. I've not spoken to him, you're not allowed to speak to referees straight after the game. I'm sure he'll be sorry he missed it when he sees it back. He missed it, what more can I say? The fourth official said something about not many players appealing and we've had that said to us before, but you don't want our players refereeing the game, it's not what we're about.
"They've made a mistake but the last thing you want is another manager talking about referees. We were fantastic and played really well. That was our identity on show, we played on the front foot, had opportunities and even at 2-2 we are trying to win the game, we hit the post and the keeper made a great save. Alan [Pardew] will be pleased with a point and we're disappointed not to get all three, we thought we were going to win but unfortunately we didn't. We pick ourselves up very quickly, we are very resolute and now we look forward to going to Swansea next week, I'm sure we'll have a big following."
It was an excellent display from Brian's side and he continued, "That is the way we have to play in this league and if we keep doing that then we'll pick up points in this league, I am convinced of that. We had a lot of games like this last season, we just kept going and we will keep doing that in this league as well. That is how we have to play every week, whoever the personnel are.
"Bar the late goal from Ba, in terms of performances we've had a good week. We had QPR and then today, we have to be delighted with the response after West Brom. Against Spurs we lost with a whimper, we can't have that. We have 24,000 people that we need to give value for money to, I hate letting our fans down but we didn't do that today or at QPR, the fans will have a real belief moving forward after today."
Lastly, Brian was asked how hard it is to make changes to his team, having made some big decisions with his line-up to face the Toon. "It's horrible for me. On Thursday night I don't sleep, then on Friday I have the conversations. But what I'll say is that I give the players respect, and if I get that back I'm fine with it. I know they'll be disappointed but I give them the respect they deserve, to tell them personally."