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Portsmouth defeat sees boss Cotterill fuming at referee

Portsmouth boss Steve Cotterill criticised the performance of referee Dean Whitestone's after his side's 3-0 home defeat to Coventry. Whitestone awarded two penalties to the managerless Sky Blues, with the second spot-kick being awarded for a handball which led to a red card for Hayden Mullins.

"There was no way we should have lost that game 3-0. But there was one obstacle we couldn't overcome, and it wasn't Coventry City," he said.

"It's very difficult. It's bad enough when you don't get one or two decisions, but when they come as thick and fast as that, it's very, very difficult for players not to get frustrated."

"(The Mullins incident) was not a penalty. It hit Hayden Mullins absolutely square on the thigh.

"It was belted at him, it hit him on the thigh and then it hit him on the hand. There is no way that is a penalty and a sending off.

"We will be appealing that very strongly with, I think, a rock-solid case. If anyone gets an opportunity, look at it on slow-mo or on Sky and you will see that should never have been a penalty."

He added: "Unfortunately it will say in tomorrow's papers Portsmouth 0 Coventry 3 and that's all anyone will be interested in.

"I would be absolutely delighted and rubbing my hands if I was Andy Thorn on the way home. He will be loving it because he knows 3-0 flatters them."

In contrast Coventry caretaker manager Thorn was relieved to put an end to any lingering relegation worries.

"It had been coming, and we had a lot more steel about us. Portsmouth are a good, strong side and we stood up to them. We needed men and we got everything," he said.

"Everybody was fantastic. We've had four away games out of five now and we've acquitted ourselves really well. It's time to go home and put a show on for our fans now."

With the Sky Blues 12 points clear of the bottom three the caretaker boss wants his side to finish as high as they can.

"When we came in after my first game at Burnley, I said we're going to believe in the way we play and we're going to believe in the players," he added.

"If we keep doing the right things, we will pick up the points we need to climb the table.

"No one wants to be looking down. We want to be going up.

"We have five games left and we want to be kicking on now and going on a run we can take to the end of the season and into next."

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Dave Williams

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