Middlesbrough boss Jonathan Woodgate has played down the touchline bust up in Tuesday night’s 1-1 Championship draw with Birmingham City – despite the referee brandishing two red cards.
The fracas came as referee Andy Woolmer stopped play for a head injury to Boro’s Marcus Tavernier, moments before Birmingham netted what they thought would be the winner.
Both technical areas became very animated over the decision leading to physical clashes on the touchline.
Woolmer subsequently sent off Middlesbrough first-team coach Leo Percovich and Birmingham coach Sean Rush for their involvement.
The brawl was sparked when Woolmer stopped play to allow Marcus Tavernier to receive treatment for what appeared to be a head injury moments before Lukas Jutkiewicz put the ball in the net for the Blues.
Woodgate supported the referee’s decision to halt play for his player to receive treatment but played down the resulting conflict.
He said: “The referee has blown it out of proportion. It’s a fracas, it happens. It’s passion from both sides. It got the crowd going.
“Listen, if you see Leo is involved, I’m going to help him. I know Sean. Leo and Sean will meet after this, have a beer and kiss and make up and whatever they do.
“I was charging down the line shouting, ‘Head injury, he’s got to stop the game’. But don’t forget, (Jutkiewicz) was offside when he scored anyway, so it wouldn’t have stood.”
Unsurprisingly, Birmingham boss Pep Clotet had a different view on the brawl that overshadowed an exciting game of football.
Clotet said: “I think it was a clear goal. The only thing I saw was a goal. That is my opinion, it is a goal, but I have to respect the decision of the referee.
“We will see what is in the (referee’s) report, but I am focused on my job and my job is the daily training and match preparation, and to help and support the players to help my club.
“Whatever comes from the FA we will have to read it, and I am sure they will look into it.”
The 1-1 draw means Middlesbrough’s are now undefeated at home since mid-October, moving up to 17th.
The Blues are sat one point and one place below Boro in 18th.