'It was ridiculous and wound me up' - Sunderland boss' take on officials as side are washed away at Portsmouth
Sunderland branded the officials’ take on the conditions ‘ridiculous’ as his side were thumped 4-0 in the torrential Fratton rain.
And the Black Cats boss has apologised to his club’s fans for his team’s showing as they were buried by Pompey.
The League One leaders were soundly beaten in the driving wind and rain, in a game played on a deteriorating pitch with surface water making it increasingly challenging to judge the roll of the ball.
Johnson’s pleas to see the game abandoned once his team fell 3-0 down fell on deaf ears, with referee Ben Toner seeing proceedings to a conclusion.
The Sunderland boss explained his frustrations centred on the official’s assessment the roll of the ball wasn’t being affected by the elements.
He told the Sunderland Echo ‘It's just about protecting the players and whether it's dangerous.
‘He obviously didn't think it was dangerous and that's their call, fair enough.
‘Their take on it was ridiculous. They said the ball was rolling cleanly and that's what wound me up. Nothing else.
‘It's about safety and fair enough, it's their prerogative to make their decision.
‘But don't tell me the ball is running cleanly. That's what wound me up.’
Despite the debate over the playing conditions, Johnson had no argument over Pompey adjusting to the weather and pitch far more successfully than his men.
The former Bristol City boss felt what took place required an apology to the 2,110 travelling Sunderland fans.
He added: ‘They just played the conditions better than us, simple as that.
‘They had more bite in the tackle, they had energy and cohesion in the press, and our quality was poor.
‘Conditions were tricky but we talked about that and about how it would be a test for our young team, and today we were found wanting completely.
‘We've had a good start but that doesn't make today feel any better, you want to extend that run and keep winning games.
‘We're really appreciative of the crowd and their reaction at the end it was an incredible support in those conditions and to have travelled so far, we can only apologise.
‘That's the most painful bit, that we've let them down.
‘We have to accept that and take our medicine.
‘They were amazing for us and I feel so bad, and the team feel the same way.
‘We have to put it right in the next set of away games because they've travelled so well, in the cup games as well.
‘We apologise for that today.’
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