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Premier League

Chelsea 2 Aston Villa 1: Paul Lambert bemoans 'game-changing' refereeing after defeat at Stamford Bridge


Paul Lambert bemoaned Kevin Friend's 'game-changing' refereeing after Aston Villa lost 2-1 at Stamford Bridge, saying that his team “never deserved” to have two crucial second-half decisions go against them.

Branislav Ivanovic was only booked for an elbow on Christian Benteke, minutes before scoring Chelsea's winner, while John Terry was unpunished for a seeming handball in the box in added time.

“I don't think we didn't deserve to lose the game,” Lambert said afterwards, admitting that he felt Villa were hard-done by. “We looked a threat and we've been done by two big decisions that were wrong.”

Describing Ivanovic's challenge as “an elbow” and Terry's handball as “there for everybody to see”, Lambert was frustrated with the officiating. “He has missed two decisions. I know the game's hard, but decisions like that, I don't think you can miss them, I really don't. Not decisions like that, they're big game-changers. My team never deserved that.”

Jose Mourinho, who disagreed with Lambert's view on both decisions, said the Villa manager reminded him of his younger self with how he complained about referees.

“He reminds me of myself 10 years ago when I was complaining every decision,” Mourinho said. “I wanted to coach my team and at same time have whistle in my lips. With experience he will change - now he complains on every decision.”

“It's probably a nice compliment,” said Lambert. “I'm pretty sure Jose doesn't stand there like a shrinking violet.”