Newcastle United captain Jamaal Lascelles has hit out at big spending Wolverhampton Wanderers following last week's controversial 1-1 draw at Molineux.
Lascelles saw his team let a 1-0 lead slip in the 95th minute as Willy Boly climbed above goalkeeper Martin Dubravka to nod the ball home and snatch a point for Wolves.
The dramatic draw has left the Magpies teetering above the relegation zone in 16th while Wolves are flying high in seventh, but Lascelles doesn't believe the league table is a fair reflection of either side's performances this season.
The 25-year-old told the Chronicle Live: "No disrespect to Wolves - and I know they have spent a lot of money - but I don't know how they are where they are.
"I think the difference has been, not our performances, they have been good, but what we lack is being streetwise on the pitch.
"Small fouls in the right areas and things like that, it makes a massive difference. We are putting in good performances in and working hard sometimes we just get frustrated with ourselves.
"Points are there to be taken and if we are smarter and more mature we will get them."
A last-gasp looping cross from Wolves winger Adama Traore invited Boly to challenge Dubravka and Lascelles had initially blamed his goalkeeper for conceding such a crucial goal, but the Newcastle captain has redirected his criticism towards the officials.
"I spoke to Martin and I apologised for my reaction at the time," said Lascelles. "At the time I just thought he'd headed it in but look back and the camera shows as clear as anything it was a foul.
"He (Boly) had both of his arms around his neck and pulled him back."
Newcastle have spent the extended break between league matches in Spain for some warm weather training and team bonding, and Lascelles believes Spanish officials would never have allowed the goal to stand.
"In Spain that would be a foul straight away, in England you don't get it. Maybe VAR needs to be introduced. It was a bad decision from the ref and that sort of thing should not determine us losing two points.
Rafa on whether Graham Scott should have awarded for foul on Dubravka— Lee Ryder (@lee_ryder) February 11, 2019
“In England they don’t understand the rules so you can say whatever you want to say.”
Toon fans will hope that the result at Molineux won't prove to be fatal come the end of the season, as a win would've put Newcastle level on points with 13th-placed Crystal Palace.
"Ultimately those points are crucial. Those two points could be the difference for us this season and the only problem has been, not from us, from a bad decision."