Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert has slammed referee Mark Halsey for his decision to award Southampton a penalty in his side’s 1-0 loss.
Rickie Lambert converted the spot-kick, given to Southampton despite Enda Stevens appearing to make no contact with Jay Rodriguez at Villa Park on Saturday.
The loss sent Villa into the relegation zone in the English Premier League and further increases the pressure on the under-fire Lambert.
Lambert said Halsey would be embarrassed by his decision and felt the 51-year-old was uncertain when making the call.
“It’s nowhere near it. You’ve got to be 100 percent certain to give a penalty, and when Mark sees that I think he’ll be embarrassed by it,” Lambert told Sky Sports.
“He can’t guess – you certainly can’t do that in a game of that magnitude. You have to be 100 percent right, and to me that was a guess.”
Villa’s loss extended their woeful run of form in the league since a 3-1 win at Liverpool on December 15.
Lambert’s side have only collected one point of a possible 15 since – conceding 18 goals in the process.
“It’s disappointing, but that’s the way things seem to be going for us at the moment. We don’t seem to be getting the little breaks,” Lambert said.
“We had loads of chances, but if we keep that effort up and that commitment – that’s the way to play the game of football.
“We’re getting kicked all over the place at the minute, but you keep battling through and meeting the challenge head on. The crowd again were excellent, right behind us.”
Southampton manager Nigel Adkins defended Rodriguez for going down, but believes his side were due a favourable decision.
He told BBC Sport: “We could have had seven or eight penalties this season, and they say it levels out.
“For me there is no contact with the player, but the referee has a decision to make. All we can do at our place is make sure the players are not diving.
“We expect the players to behave properly. It is not a dive from Jay Rodriguez. There was no contact, but if the player had not moved his leg away, there would have been contact.”