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Cooper upset after Attwell steals the show
WITH the whole country watching, Swindon Town manager Mark Cooper was frustrated his players only got 50 minutes to show off what they’re all about at MK Dons on Saturday.
The Robins were impressive in the first half at stadium:mk in a game broadcast live on Sky Sports, stringing together long periods of calm possession and causing the Dons’ defence all sorts of problems - and they were duly rewarded with Alex Pritchard’s sensational 16th-minute opener.
However, following Nathan Byrne’s red card six minutes after the break, the visitors were left defending their lead and then hanging on for a point after Patrick Bamford levelled for Milton Keynes.
For Cooper the whole situation was hugely disappointing. He said: “I’m proud of the players. Everyone can see, or at least I hope they can see, what terrific players we’ve got.
“I’m disappointed to be talking about the referee’s decision rather than our players and MK Dons’ players.
“The positives are not a problem, I know all about them. “I know we can pass the ball, I know we can score goals, it’s just disappointing that we’re on the telly and we’re talking about a sending-off rather than how good our football was.
“We’ve got some good players, they know what’s expected of them and we do training sessions where you’re outnumbered.
“They keep their shape and the last half-an-hour is unfair because we have to defend when we should be going to attack.”
Cooper was dismayed by referee Stuart Attwell’s decision to dismiss Byrne for a clumsy tackle on Shaun Williams, suggesting that it was a soft red card.
He said: “It’s never a sending-off.
“If we have sendings-off for that we’ll be playing five-a-side football by the end of the season.
“People will be getting sent off - three, four, five every game.
“He’s made a genuine attempt for the ball, he’s not left the ground, the boy’s prodded the ball away and Nathan has trodden on the boy’s foot.
“That’s all it is. It’s never, ever been a red card.
“I said to him ‘I thought you were hasty and didn’t give yourself time to think about it’. Looking back on it, I think he probably thinks I’m right.”