Leeds boss Jesse Marsch admitted he tried to influence the performance of referee Michael Salisbury with his petulant touchline behaviour during the 1-0 Premier League loss at Brighton.
Marsch was shown a second-half yellow card at the Amex Stadium after slamming the ball into the turf and sarcastically applauding the rookie match official, who was taking charge of just his fifth top-flight fixture.
The American was animated from the outset on the south coast, regularly leaving his technical area and, at times, angrily berating the officials, prompting a ticking-off from fourth official James Linington and complaints from the home bench.
He had no objections to eventually being booked – around 15 minutes from time after Pascal Gross had claimed what proved to be Albion’s winner – but insisted he will never be a manager who “sits there and takes it”.
Asked if the caution was merited, he replied: “Yeah, absolutely. I thought my behaviour at that point deserved the yellow card.
“But I always say, when you don’t believe that you’re getting a performance out of the referee I think you have two options: to sit there and take it or to escalate your behaviour to try to make a point to see if you can affect the way decisions are getting made.
“Sometimes it works for you, sometimes it works against you. But I’ll never be a guy that just sits there and takes it, that’s not my style.
“We had him (Salisbury) as the fourth official against Chelsea (a 3-0 win last weekend) and I like his demeanour.
“I just think he didn’t have the best performance today. I know I let him know that maybe a couple too many times.”
Leeds were second best for much of their visit to Sussex and, having been fortunate to be level at the break, fell behind when Gross latched on to Leandro Trossard’s pass to break the deadlock in the 66th minute.
Substitute Luis Sinisterra had earlier wasted a golden chance to open the scoring for the West Yorkshire club, before defender Diego Llorente went close to a late leveller.
While Marsch was frustrated at the standard of officiating, he was also unhappy with his team not following tactical instructions, accusing players of “freestyling” after their unbeaten start to the campaign ended.
Asked if decision-making in key moments let down the display, he replied: “It was not just that; it was following the match plan a little bit clearer.
“We had guys kind of freestyling against the ball and with the ball and so still staying true to the principles and the tactics and the match plans, which was a talking point a lot last year, (is required).”
High-flying Brighton stretched their unbeaten top-flight streak to a club-record nine games with victory.
Seagulls boss Graham Potter said: “We played well, so I was disappointed not to have gone in ahead at half-time but credit to the boys, they started the second half well and got the goal.
“Leeds are a good team, Jesse has done a good job and they’re hard to play against. We had to suffer a little bit but overall I think we deserved the win.”
Asked about Marsch’s touchline conduct, he replied: “I don’t pay too much attention to what happens in the opposite technical area – that’s for them to be how they think they should be and I have full respect for that.
“I have huge respect for Jesse Marsch, he’s a top coach and has had a fantastic career.”