Roy Hodgson insisted England captain Steven Gerrard was harshly treated after being sent off in their disappointing 1-1 World Cup Group H qualifying draw against Ukraine at Wembley.
- Related Content
Gerrard, who received a second yellow card for a foul on Denys Garmash, became the 14th England player to be dismissed and their second captain to be shown the red card, the other being David Beckham - also for two bookable offences - against Austria in 2005.
All in all England were shown five yellow cards and a red against Ukraine and it means Gerrard and full-back Glen Johnson, who was booked in Moldova last Friday for kicking the ball away, will now be banned for the World Cup qualifier against San Marino at Wembley next month.
Hodgson, however, criticised Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir for his handling of this game.
"I thought all the yellow cards were harsh. It was not a game were there were a lot of bad fouls. There were not a lot of fouls full stop," said Hodgson.
"There were far too many yellow cards for the fouls that were committed and we certainly got too many.
"Steven Gerrard is certainly very unlucky to be sent off. I don't think the two fouls he was adjudged to have committed were worthy of that sanction."
The other England players booked against Ukraine were James Milner, Jermain Defoe and Joleon Lescott in a match during which England went behind to a brilliant 25-yard opener from Yevgen Konoplianka and were grateful for an 87th minute penalty from Frank Lampard after defender Yevhen Khacheridi had handled the ball.
It was Lampard's 26th goal for his country to take him to joint 12th on the England goal-scoring list alongside Bryan Robson.
A defiant Hodgson, however, praised England's performance.
He said: "You are always relieved when you are losing 1-0 and you get a late equaliser. I suppose all games you don't win at home people say it's not a great performance but I didn't think we did that badly.
"We kept at our task. We started poorly in the first 10 minutes but once we got into our stride we had quite good control of the game.
"We went one down to a wonder strike and from then on against a good Ukrainian team you are always going to be up against it but I was pleased with the way we kept playing our football, taking the game to them and creating chances.
"In the end we fully deserved our equaliser so I suppose I'll dodge the question whether it was a good performance or whatever and say that I was very pleased with the way the players went about their task."
Hodgson rued the absence of the injured Wayne Rooney, Ashley Cole and John Terry and started with Tom Cleverley and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in midfield, also bringing on youngsters Ryan Bertrand, Daniel Sturridge and Danny Welbeck.
Hodgson said: "We did a miss a lot of players but the ones who came in, particularly the three youngsters at the end, acquitted themselves well and it is good for us in the future.
"We are not totally reliant on the old guard. We do have young players coming through who can step up to the plate.
"Welbeck, Sturridge and Bertrand made an impact."
Meanwhile, Ukraine coach Oleg Blokhin said: "It was a fantastic start for us. It was a tough game but we created certain problems for England that they could not solve.
"The young players in our squad were probably intimidated by winning against England but no football player is without mistakes. I am very happy about the result.
"It is a positive result because we got a point and we will be in for the leadership of the group with Poland and England and Montenegro. But if we don't get any points with Poland and Montenegro this point is in vain."
Gerrard suggested the referee had been card happy in the wake of his red card.
The Liverpool skipper said: "I don't think there was a bad tackle in the game, was there? And I think the referee's given seven yellow cards.
"So, it's disappointing for me because it's a red card - my first one in 98 caps.
"But we play San Marino next. I'm sure the boys can do the job without me and then I'll be available for Poland.
"I'm gutted over the red, but happy with my performance."
Gerrard's display was one of few positives for England as they were outplayed by a Ukraine side who came within three minutes of avenging this summer's controversial European Championship defeat.
He said: "We wanted to win this game tonight. We're at home with our crowd behind us, so we're disappointed not to get the three points.
"Having gone a goal down, I think we showed fantastic character and determination. We kept probing for the openings and, when the subs came on, I thought we created more chances.
"I thought we thoroughly deserved the point, if not a bit more on chances."
He added: "I think you've got to give them credit. They're a fantastic team and I think it's going to be between us two who tops this group. That's my prediction.
"I thought in general play, we controlled it. We looked the side who wanted to create all the openings and I think we'll probably have a better chance of beating them away because they'll have to come out and take more risks.
"But, credit to them, they've come to Wembley and they've taken two points off us."
Gerrard also praised Lampard, saying: "He's got a good record as far as penalties are concerned.
"I think that's his eighth or ninth penalty now.
"So, we rely on him and he's done the job again for us tonight."
Lampard insisted England pulled out a "good result".
He told ITV: "These games are not easy and in the end getting a point is a good result considering we were 1-0 down with 10 minutes to go.
"At the start of the game you obviously want to win it but when you consider the circumstances we had a goal disallowed, we hit the post, so in the end we showed great character to get a point."
Lampard admitted his disappointment over Jermain Defoe's disallowed first-half effort, insisting: "I thought he (the referee) pulled it back for a free-kick to us. It wasn't a foul at all so we've very disappointed with that."