Jonny Howson has said that he believes the decision to give George Saville a red card against Derby County was ‘harsh’.
The Middlesbrough midfielder was sent off for a strong tackle on Krystian Bielik during the 2-0 defeat on Saturday.
Such was the strength behind the challenge, the referee saw fit to hand the former Millwall man a straight-red for the tackle.
With Boro reduced down to 10 men, the Teessiders struggled to compete with the Rams who comfortably wrapped up the three points.
However speaking after the game, Middlesbrough midfielder Howson said that he saw nothing wrong with the tackle.
Speaking to BBC Tees Sport, Howson said: “Sav is extremely disappointed.
“It is one of them situation. He went for the ball and sometimes in 50/50s like that, them things can happen.
“He went in fully committed and for me there’s nothing wrong with that.
“He’s going for the ball. For me its not ‘a stupid challenge’, its just two lads committed.
“Was it harsh? I don’t know. These days you barely touch someone and it’s a yellow
“He’s a good honest lad is Sav but these things happen in football and at this moment of time the little things are going against us.”
While George Saville’s challenge was certainly strong, there is a case for saying that his sending off was harsh.
While Jonathan Woodgate’s side were already 1-0 down when the incident occurred, there’s no doubting that any chance of Middlesbrough getting back into the game was severely diminished when they were reduced to 10 men.
Whether the Boro hierarchy decide to appeal the red card remains to be seen, but they certainly won’t be happy about losing a key player for three matches in a period where they’re in desperate need of a win.