Frank Lampard criticises referee in Derby's 1-0 Championship play-off defeat to Leeds

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Derby boss Frank Lampard has criticised the “incredible” decision to overturn a penalty for his side during their 1-0 Championship play-off defeat to Leeds.

The Rams were given a spot-kick with 12 minutes to go at Pride Park, following a collision between Jayden Bogle and Jack Harrison in the box.

But referee Craig Pawson then changed his decision following discussions with assistant Eddie Smart.

Leeds led at the time through Kemar Roofe’s 55th-minute strike – a goal that was ultimately enough to see Leeds leave Pride Park with the win.

“I think it was a close call for the penalty, but for it to be overruled by a linesman who is further away than the referee is incredible,” Lampard said.

“The ref is the boss and he made the decision. If it is going to change then surely it has to be because there is something clear and obviously wrong and there wasn’t.

“Contact is minimal but there is a foul there and I don’t understand why it was changed.

“We won’t get it back now but I would like to speak to the officials to understand their decision-making process.

“We were more positive in the second half and created chances, but we need to be better on the ball and be more confident on Wednesday (in the second leg).

“If we go out then I want us to play how we have been playing recently. They will put us under pressure but we have to stay confident.”

Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa insisted the best team had won.

He said: “We always play to win and I think it was a deserved win. I am really pleased with the performance.

“Apart from the first minutes of the first half and then 10 or 15 minutes in the second half, when we dominated the ball, we defended well when we had to defend well and we attacked well when we had to attack.

“I did not have a clear view of the penalty. We are very far away from the action and have many players in front of us, so I can’t give an opinion.”

The Argentinian pointed to events elsewhere this week as good reason not to take anything for granted.

“The Champions League games this week are a warning of what could happen,” he added. “A 1-0 lead is not enough to be comfortable going into the second leg.

“It (the win) is an advantage, but we still have 90 minutes to play.”

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Dean Smith demands more from Aston Villa after 2-1 play-off semi-final win over West Brom

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Goalscorers Conor Hourihane (r) and Tammy Abraham celebrate the Irishman's opener.

Boss Dean Smith praised Jack Grealish but demanded more from Aston Villa following their 2-1 play-off semi-final comeback win over West Brom.

Conor Hourihane’s rocket and Tammy Abraham’s penalty turned the game around in the final 15 minutes to give Villa a narrow lead in their Championship play-off semi-final first leg.

Dwight Gayle opened the scoring but was sent off with two minutes left after collecting a second yellow card for diving in on Villa keeper Jed Steer.

Grealish set up Hourihane and won the spot-kick for Abraham to win it and Smith praised his skipper.

He said: “With the quality he’s got he can create things. That’s where we want him on the ball in the final third.

“Credit to West Brom in the first half, he had to beat four or five players with the numbers they had behind.

“By keeping our width in the second half, it gave us licence to go forward and get into places.”

But Smith expects more from his side after they were forced to battle back from a goal down at Villa Park on Saturday.

He added: “I’m pleased we won the game but not pleased with the performance. We can certainly perform a lot better.

“Albion came with a game plan to sit behind the ball and slow the game down which they did very well and they capitalised on a mistake from us.

“Our movement and use of the ball we didn’t do well enough in the first half.

“We never created as many chances as we should have with the players we’ve got.

“In the second half we were better and we kept our width better. We created more opportunities but it took a really good shot from Hourihane to get us back into it.

“We’ll be going for the win (on Tuesday). That’s how we want to approach games and how the players know I want to approach games.”

Villa went behind when Gayle drilled in from the edge of the area in the 16th minute after Glenn Whelan’s error gave him a clear run through.

Jay Rodriguez had earlier hit the bar and Albion looked like holding on until the 75th minute when Hourihane netted from 20 yards.

Just 202 seconds later Villa were ahead when Kieran Gibbs brought down Grealish in the box and Abraham netted his 26th goal of the season from the spot.

Gayle, who was booked for time wasting, then received a second yellow card after making contact with Steer as he slid in to reach James Morrison’s cross.

He is now banned for Tuesday’s second leg and caretaker boss Jimmy Shan questioned referee Graham Scott’s decisions.

“He’s got booked for allegedly time-wasting for the throw-ins. To my mind, every time the ball went out he had an intent of walking towards to the ball,” he said.

“It’s a new one on me if you have to jog and sprint to restart every time the ball goes out.

“I’ve got no problem with the referee discussing that with him and trying to hurry him up, but not once did Dwight stand still, every time he’s walking to take the throw-in.

“The second one, he’s got every right to contest the ball. It’s a fantastic delivery from James, great timing from Dwight and if he gets contact he’s a two-goal hero. He’s obviously a big player for us, that’s obviously a big frustration.

“He is a goal threat but gives you so much more, he is going to be a big blow (on Tuesday).”

Shan admitted Albion must approach the home leg on the front foot if they are going to overturn the deficit and reach Wembley.

He added: “That’s the approach we’re going to have to have. Maybe tactically we have to have a different approach.

“We sat deeper today, the game plan worked for large parts but we were undone with a shot from distance and a penalty.

“It’s simple communication, when the ball gets squared (for the first goal), to get people in the right slots. We’re frustrated with that one and the momentum swings with them.”

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No nerves for Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola ahead of title-decider against Brighton

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A second Premier League title in sights for Pep Guardiola.

Pep Guardiola claims he is not nervous ahead of Manchester City‘s final-game title decider at Brighton.

City will win the Premier League with victory at the Amex Stadium on Sunday – but any slip-up could allow Liverpool, who trail by just a point, to pip them at the post by beating Wolves.

It makes for a potential nerve-jangling end to the season but Guardiola claims he is relishing the situation and is not as apprehensive as he was before the champions’ crunch clash with Liverpool in January.

City prevailed on that occasion on what was a tense night at the Etihad Stadium, preventing the Merseysiders from opening up a 10-point lead at the summit.

Guardiola, the City manager, said: “I am so happy – no nerves at all. I was nervous before Liverpool, seven points behind, and we could have been 10 points behind.

“It was, ‘Ah, it will be so difficult’. But not now, no way. I sleep like a little boy. It is a dream, a privilege, I love it.”

City have won their last 13 games in what has been a remarkable title race in which they and Liverpool have matched each other almost blow for blow.

Guardiola’s men have needed to show all their champion qualities in their last four games – tight victories over Tottenham, Manchester United, Burnley and Leicester.

City are on a 13-match winning run in the Premier League.

City are on a 13-match winning run in the Premier League.

Dropping points in any of them would have seen the initiative switch to Liverpool, who have won eight in succession and are just a point behind heading into the final round of fixtures.

With such momentum behind them, Guardiola feels his team-talk should take care of itself.

He said: “I would say that I don’t have to say anything to motivate (the players). I think my speech will be zero.

“They want to win the Premier League. What I saw in the training sessions – they want to win it. We are going to go out there at Brighton at 3 o’clock to win the game.

“We have not spoken for two or three days about the Premier League (title) or back-to-back, or what happens if we lose, about celebrations if we win, zero.

“It is just about Brighton, how they defend, their strengths and weak points, what we have to do.

“And on Sunday, ‘Guys, go out and play’. That is all.”

Provided by Press Association Sports

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