David Moyes raised questions over refereeing decisions after West Ham's dominant 4-1 victory over a depleted Watford at Vicarage Road.
West Ham struck twice in two minutes to take the lead after Emmanuel Dennis’ fourth-minute goal for the home side, with Tomas Soucek and Said Benrahma scoring in quick succession.
Mark Noble then scored his first Premier League goal since January 2020 when he sent Hornets goalkeeper Daniel Bachmann the wrong way from the penalty spot for the Hammers’ third in the second half, then in added time substitute Nikola Vlasic scored his maiden club goal for West Ham’s fourth.
The penalty was one of two occasions referee Darren England consulted the on-field monitor, with the visitors also having a goal ruled out for a foul by Soucek in the build-up, a decision criticised by the Hammers boss.
"I’ve looked at the decision and I’ll be worried if the referees are going back to soft free-kicks like they did a year ago, I thought they’d got rid of that now, I really did, I was amazed after seeing it," Moyes said.
"Obviously during the game I didn’t know, I accepted the referee’s decision and VAR’s decision, but now I’ve had a chance to see it – I just cannot believe that that’s the level of free-kicks they’ve given in the Premier League.
"It’s such a soft free-kick to give, I believed we’d moved on from that but looks like we’re right back in it now."
Watford midfielder Moussa Sissoko was disappointed with the performance, but Claudio Ranieri’s injury and Covid-19 ravaged squad had only managed one full training session in two weeks prior to the match.
"It was a very tough game," Sissoko told the club website.
"I think in every situation we were not good. Collectively, defensively and offensively it wasn’t enough and when you play like that, of course, it is going to be difficult, and we don’t deserve more than what we got today."
He added: "There is nothing else to say, we need to admit that they were better than us and we didn’t play well. There are a lot of things to improve on going into the next few games."