Steve Bruce was full of praise for his team, but critical of referee Geoff Eltringham, after seeing victory over league leaders Norwich snatched away in the 97th minute at Carrow Road on Friday night.
Reflecting on Wednesday’s performance, Bruce said: “They’ve come here and given a very good account of themselves against the best team in the division.
“I’m absolutely gutted for the players and if I was out there as one of them I would really be feeling it.
“They didn’t deserve what has happened to them late on, but that’s the Championship.
“The players can be proud of that performance, they have given it absolutely everything and for me they deserved the win.”
Bruce added that it was disappointing to be having to make changes again because of injuries, once before the start of the game and then in the first half, and reiterated that the recurring injury problem at the club needs looking at in the close season.
As for referee Eltringham, Bruce said of the injury time free kick that brought Norwich their point-saving equaliser: “I don’t know why the referee plays five minutes added time. I don’t know where that comes from as there hasn’t been a physio on the pitch as far as I can remember.
“He’ll say he added 30 seconds for a substitution, but it’s probably taken them five seconds as they were trying to get him on for a corner.
“But, I don’t think it was a foul for the free kick either. All night, I think the referee’s decisions were poor and he’s got to do better than that.
“To not look at your watch and to give them that sneak at the end, makes it a dramatic finish for Norwich and obviously we’re really disappointed.”