Luke O'Nien reveals Sunderland dressing room verdict on referee decisions against Sheffield United and Luton
Luke O’Nien admits Sunderland have been on the end of some frustrating refereeing decisions this season - but accepts everyone will make mistakes.
The Black Cats felt aggrieved when Sheffield United’s winning goal against them was allowed to stand last week, as three opposing players were standing in an offside position and interfering with play.
Three days later a big decision went in Sunderland’s favour as Amad won and scored a late penalty during the side’s 1-1 draw with Luton, a call which Hatters boss Rob Edwards called the ‘wrong decision’ from referee Scott Oldham.
Those decisions have resulted in further criticism of refereeing standards in the Championship, yet O’Nien can see both sides.
When reflecting on Sheffield United’s winning goal, he said: “It’s difficult because for example take the other night, we trust our line and the way we set up, and we did well. You look at the goal and we set up the way we should set up, and it was offside.
“Listen, people are going to moan, they are going to complain and you have to remember we are all human, we all make mistakes
“I’ve made mistakes this season and will continue to make them, referees are going to make mistakes as well.
“Of course if you are on the receiving end it’s a bit more difficult because you have the emotion, but I think over the course of the season it will even itself out.
“If you take kind of an isolated decision like the other day of course it’s frustrating because we have walked away with no points when we should have done, and could have gone on to get the three.
“From my approach I understand referees are human just like us and are going to make mistakes as well.
“Maybe it’s just going to make the referees better when they are watching the games back, the same as a player. We make a mistake, we watch it back, we get better.
“Maybe there is a call for them to get better quicker, but I just take the approach they are human and they make mistakes just as we do as well.”
O’Nien also says communication between players and referees could improve from both sides.
When asked if referees talk to players to explain their decisions, he added: “Some do, some don’t. I feel like I’ve got some good relationships with some referees where I’ll be like ‘listen, what’s gone on there,’ and they’ll explain to you. Others don’t want to hear from you at all.
“It would be nice to have a bit more consistency where, have a chat, tell us what’s going on. But I understand it’s in the heat of the moment when you’re emotional, they are maybe a bit emotional after making the decision. I can understand the intensity.
“Maybe from both sides we can maybe speak to the referees better with a bit more respect and they can kind of talk to us with a bit more respect back as well.
“We have to focus on what we can control. What the refs do, you can’t control that so we just have to focus on what we can do.”