Jose Mourinho has claimed Chelsea are the victim of a diving campaign which is costing them Premier League points.
The table-topping west Londoners saw a run of five successive wins in all competitions come to an end on Sunday when Southampton held firm to secure a point.
Sadio Mane and Eden Hazard scored in an entertaining 1-1 draw at St Mary’s, where Mourinho was adamant they should have had a potentially match-defining penalty early in the second half when Cesc Fabregas went down under pressure from Matt Targett.
Instead of a spot-kick, however, referee Anthony Taylor deemed it a dive and booked the infuriated Spanish midfielder – part of a what Mourinho believes is a growing movement against his side.
“In other countries where I worked before, tomorrow in the sports papers it would be a front-page scandal because it is a scandal,” the Chelsea boss said.
“I think it is a scandal because it is not a small penalty – it is a penalty like Big Ben. In this country – and I am happy with that, more than happy with that – we will just say that it was a big mistake with a big influence in the result.
“I am happy that it is this way, with respect for the referee. He made a big mistake like I make, like the players make sometimes.”
Chelsea have found themselves at the heart of the simulation debate in recent weeks, with Diego Costa and Willian booked for supposedly taking a tumble in the win against Hull.
After that match Steve Bruce compared a Gary Cahill dive as “like something out of Swan Lake” and West Ham manager Sam Allardyce accused Branislav Ivanovic of going down “looking for a penalty” on Boxing Day.
Asked if the Cahill and Ivanovic incidents had influenced referees, Mourinho retorted: “They are not incidents, they are not incidents.
“Of course [it has influenced the referee]. That’s a campaign, that’s a clear campaign. People, pundits, commentators, coaches from other teams – they react with Chelsea in a way they don’t react to other teams.
“They put lots of pressure on the referee and the referee makes a mistake like this. We lose two points, Fabregas earns a yellow card.”
Mourinho made those comments to the BBC and let loose again in the post-match press conference. The Portuguese said this has been an issue since the first day of the season, when Costa was wrongly booked for a dive against Burnley, and called for a change to the system.
“The double punishment is something unbelievable,” Mourinho said. “Anthony [should go to a] screen, see that he has made a mistake – he is a good guy, an honest guy.
“He writes ’I made a mistake, let’s clean the yellow card for Cesc’. It should be a simple process.”
Southampton manager Ronald Koeman understood the anger of his former Barcelona colleague, but philosophically concluded “it’s part of football”.
“If the referee thinks it’s simulation then you have to give the player a yellow card, but you will have always the decision if it’s simulation or really a fault in the box,” he said.
“I have to watch that moment in the game because maybe for Chelsea that was an important moment to win the game.”