Neil Warnock claimed Premier League officials are “probably the worst” in the world after Cardiff City controversially lost 2-1 at home to Chelsea.
Cardiff led thanks to Victor Camarasa’s strike early in the second half on Sunday, with Warnock’s men on track for a huge three points in their bid to avoid relegation.
But with six minutes to go, Cesar Azpilicueta headed the Blues back on level terms, although replays showed the Chelsea captain was offside.
Warnock was further incensed when Antonio Rudiger was only booked when he brought Kenneth Zohore down as the striker ran through on goal.
And to make matters even worse for Cardiff, in the first minute of added time Ruben Loftus-Cheek stole in at the back post to head home Willian’s centre and leave the hosts empty-handed.
Warnock was involved in a touchline row with Chelsea head coach Maurizio Sarri at 1-1 and then had a bizarre confrontation with the officials on the pitch after the full-time whistle.
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) March 31, 2019
And the Cardiff boss could not contain his frustration with a result that leaves Cardiff five points adrift of safety after wins for relegation rivals Burnley and Southampton on Saturday.
“It’s difficult because I’m flat,” Warnock told Sky Sports. “I’m so proud of my players, we didn’t want to sit behind the ball, we wanted to have a go. To get let down by officials, it’s ‘roll on VAR’ really, maybe I’ll be too old to see it come in!
“That’s why they need it. If you can’t see that’s offside – it’s not even close. We waited three weeks for this and got let down. We thought it could have been a red card [Rudiger’s foul] but no major decisions went for us.
“If I was a Burnley or Southampton fan I’d be absolutely loving it and you can’t blame them. I’ve had one kick in the teeth after another this season and the players have as well but they always bounce back. We’ve got some good games left. We’re not going to lie down.
“It’s almost not who you play but who has a flag in their hand that’s almost as important. All the hard work we’ve done and it’s none of our faults that an official can’t see the most obvious offside I’ve ever seen.
“Is it payback time for me over the years? I honestly don’t know. It’s the best league in the world and probably the worst officials. I don’t know what [head referee] Mike Riley teaches the linesmen. They don’t understand what’s at stake.
“Clive White, the PFA guy, says I’m too passionate. Come on, there’s too much at stake, this is what we’re in the game for. Why am I working at 70 years old? To see stuff like that? We looked good at set-pieces defending-wise, but what do you do? It’s not often I’m lost for words is it really?”
— Premier League (@premierleague) March 31, 2019
Cardiff travel to face Manchester City on Wednesday before a crucial trip to Turf Moor four days later, and Warnock knows lifting his team for the coming games will be tough.
“The players are distraught, their heads are down, they’ve not said a word,” he added.
“All I’ve said is you’ve got to regroup now. Four of our remaining games are quite winnable and we’ve got to try our hardest.
“I’ve never had a season like this. We don’t deserve officials like that. I can’t fault the lads. I’d have been disappointed with a draw.”
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