Sunderland boss Bruce furious with Attwell after Liverpool draw

Sunderland boss Steve Bruce slammed ref Stuart Attwell after their 2-2 draw at Liverpool.

Sunderland boss Steve Bruce slammed ref Stuart Attwell after their 2-2 draw at Liverpool.

The Black Cats boss said he did not want to incur the wrath of the Football Association by giving his true thoughts but was deeply unhappy with the performance of the 27-year-old official.

Attwell, who awarded the infamous "ghost goal" in the Watford v Reading Championship match two years ago, allowed Dirk Kuyt's opening strike to count after ruling Michael Turner had taken a free-kick when he appeared to roll it back to goalkeeper Simon Mignolet and Fernando Torres nipped in.

Darren Bent hit back with a penalty and a header either side of half-time before Gerrard nodded in Torres' near-post cross to salvage a point but the official's performance was a major talking point.

"I've been in enough trouble so I don't want to talk about it but you all witnessed it and he got it wrong," said Bruce.

"The free-kick was 25 yards from where the incident was and I think everyone in the ground realised that too.

"He has put his whistle to his mouth three times and if he is in doubt he should have given the free-kick to be taken in the right position.

"This is the second time it has happened to me, the first time was at Arsenal in the FA Cup [as Sheffield United manager in 1999] when they were going to throw it back to our goalkeeper and they threw it to Kanu who ran down the wing and crossed for Marc Overmars to score.

"Maybe in the past a Liverpool team would have come back and said it was unfair and unsportsmanlike - I doubt it though.

"We are going to talk about this crazy goal and not the performance of the team, which was terrific."

Bruce, referring to Bent's freak strike which defeated Liverpool at the Stadium of Light last season, added: "It is a shame because we should be talking about a Sunderland win but it is going to be like it was with the beachball 12 months ago."

The Sunderland manager also accused Attwell of showing favouritism to Gerrard, who caught Danny Welbeck in the face with an arm and was booked.

"I know if it had been Lee Cattermole he would have been sent off," he said.

"He gives a yellow card - it is a strange one."

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