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Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert laments referee's decisions

Updated: Thursday, 22 Aug 2013 10:19 | Comments

Branislav Ivanovic's winner left Villa boss Paul Lambert apoplectic
Branislav Ivanovic's winner left Villa boss Paul Lambert apoplectic

Paul Lambert felt aggrieved after his Aston Villa side were beaten 2-1 at Jose Mourinho's Chelsea.

Lambert and Mourinho spent the 90 minutes bickering in the technical area and were in disagreement afterwards over two of the major talking points.

Branislav Ivanovic avoided a red card for catching Christian Benteke with a flailing arm before scoring the winner, while Lambert felt referee Kevin Friend should have awarded Villa a stoppage-time penalty when the ball made contact with John Terry's arm in the area.

Lambert said: "It's easy to sit here with sour grapes and all that sort of thing, (but) I thought my team were outstanding.

"I don't think we deserved to lose the game. I think we've been done by two big decisions that were wrong.

"I don't think you can miss those ones, not big decisions like that. They're big game changers.

"My team never deserved that."

On the incident which saw Ivanovic booked for catching Benteke, the scorer of Villa's goal, Lambert said: "I think it's an elbow. I know it's a physical game and all that, but I think it's an elbow."

And for the late penalty shout, the Scot said: "It was a handball. It's there for everyone to see. (Gabriel) Agbonlahor's won the header and John Terry, good player, but you raise your hand in the penalty box, I think it's a penalty."

Mourinho, whose side went in front after six minutes through an Antonio Luna own goal, dismissed Lambert's complaints.

On the Terry handball incident, Mourinho said: "If somebody pushes an opponent, especially in the box, in dangerous areas, it's a free-kick against (Villa)."

The Portuguese also played down the incident between Ivanovic and Benteke.

Mourinho said: "This is the Premier League. This is English football.

"For some reason the world loves it more than any other league: one thing is a real aggression, another thing is duels.

"I think the referee did very, very well. From minute one to minute 95 there was a real fight, a football fight between Benteke and Ivanovic.

"Fouls for one side, fouls for another side. I think that's football."

Mourinho, whose side were comfortable victors over Hull on Sunday and next play Manchester United, admitted Chelsea were fortunate to escape with all three points in a combative contest which spilled into the technical area.

"It was a game until the minute 95 with the result very unpredictable," Mourinho added.

"If in this moment we are here with a draw, it wouldn't be an unfair result.

"They fought a lot for a result. I don't think they play a lot.

"Paul has a certain type of personality and behaviour on the bench.

"He reminds me of myself 10 years ago, where I was complaining every decision, where I want to coach my team and at the same time I want to have a whistle in my lips.

"He's the same. With time he will change, because he complains with every decision. He's a young manager, very intelligent."

Mourinho praised Benteke, but declined to reveal if the Belgian, who signed a new contract this summer after interest from Tottenham, had ever been a target.

The Portuguese is still seeking a striker, with Manchester United's Wayne Rooney the first choice.

"They have a special player with special qualities, they use him," added Mourinho of Benteke and the approach of Villa, which he believes is direct.

"He's a great player, but he's a great player for a certain style of football.

"We tried to play a different style of football. We tried to play the way we played against Hull, we tried to play the way we train every day.

"But the good thing from my team today is that Villa gave us a different match and we coped with that.

"Defensively we were strong. I think we could do better with the ball."

Lambert accepted Mourinho's appraisal of him with good grace.

"It's a nice compliment," Lambert said.

"Jose doesn't stand there as a shrinking violet. If in six years time I'm like him, then I'll be quite happy."

Less complimentary was the criticism of his team, which Lambert took exception to.

Lambert added: "I'm proud of the team, the way we played. We don't play long ball."

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