BORO boss Aitor Karanka vented his frustration at the officials following his side’s 1-0 Sky Bet Championship loss to Reading on Saturday.
Simon Cox struck in the seventh minute as the Royals ultimately grabbed their second league win of the season.
But Karanka was left bemoaning the events thereafter, with apparent Reading time-wasting going unpunished as his side failed to grab what would have been a deserved leveller.
He said: “It is something that I do not like (time-wasting).
“It is frustrating but they can do it. Me and a member of my staff went to the linesman and fourth official and they didn’t want to speak with us.
“Then 30 seconds later they were with the other bench laughing and joking. That is what is frustrating, not Reading’s game.
“I am frustrated by the fourth official’s behaviour and it is not the first time. We were playing at the tempo the referee wanted. He wanted to stop play and he did.
“If the goalkeeper wanted to keep the ball for 13 seconds before a goal kick, they let it happen.”
Opposite number Nigel Adkins remained tight-lipped when asked for a response, saying: “Time-wasting tactics? I don’t want to get involved in any of that. I thought it was an excellent 1-0 victory.”
Karanka has welcomed the international break, suggesting his troops will be putting in plenty of hard work.
He said: “We were a team without spirit and character, especially in the first half, and we have to improve our consistency.
“The best thing is to have two weeks to work again with all of the squad together. We need to improve and recover our style.
Middlesbrough may be bolstered by the time they travel to Huddersfield in a fortnight, with reports in Belgium suggesting Genk’s Jelle Vossen is on the verge of joining on loan with a view to a permanent move.
Karanka confirmed the club are in talks with the striker and also suggested there could be more arrivals before the transfer deadline tonight.
He said: “We are speaking with Vossen and other players. I expect to be working until the last second.”
The game’s only goal came when Ryan Edwards’ inch-perfect ball found Cox, who looped a delicate volley over Tomas Mejias and into the net.
Middlesbrough: Mejias, Damia, Hines (L Williams 76), Omeruo, Friend, Clayton (Whitehead 77), Leadbitter, Adomah, Tomlin (Bamford 59), Reach, Garcia. Subs not used: Ayala, Gibson, Ledesma, Konstantopoulos. Booked: Leadbitter, Adomah.
Reading: Federici, Gunter, Hector, Pearce, Obita, Edwards, Kuhl (Akpan 53), Norwood (Cooper 82), Taylor, Cox (Tanner 56), Mackie. Subs not used: Andersen, Long, Stacey, Fosu. Booked: Akpan. Goals: Cox 7.
Att: 14,970. Ref: Darren Bond (Lancashire).