Mauricio Pochettino has hit out at what he sees as unfair officiating against Southampton, insisting he is not “dumb” enough to remain tight-lipped while he feels his young side continue to be wronged.
Having seen referee Mark Clattenburg wave away two penalty appeals in the 2-1 defeat at Everton, the Saints manager came out on the offensive on Monday.
Pochettino lit up what had been an unremarkable pre-Chelsea press conference by claiming his side have been treated unfairly this season due to their young, friendly image.
"I think in the end if you don't talk you seem almost as if you are dumb so I am talking because I want to defend my club," he said. "It's my duty to defend my club.
"These things need to be said and I am actually defending my club because it is my club and I think if I don't talk I am going to seem as if I am dumb or I don't care about my club.
"I don't mean any disrespect against any referees but anyone that could have seen the game on Sunday can see there were two clear penalties that weren't given and should have been given.
"That would have changed the game completely but they weren't given and of course we are angry and upset about that.
"I am saying things that should not be forgotten in the overall analysis of the game and they need to be said.
"I don't mean any disrespect to anyone but there were two clear penalties that weren't given and that's very frustrating."
Asked if referees are more likely to give decisions to big-name teams and players who will complain to them, he added: "That is the case and it shouldn't be that way. They shouldn't be conditioned to referee in that manner but that is the way it is."
Injury-hit Southampton have won just one of their last eight matches, yet there remains an air of confidence around the place ahead of their New Year's Day meeting with Chelsea.
"It's very clear that when we are fully fit and have all our players available it will make us a much more solid group and then we will see what potential we have for 2014," Pochettino added.
"In the meantime, our mentality still remains the same - to win every game, to take it step by step and day by day and then we will see what potential and how far we can go in 2014 but our aim is always to win every single game."