Cesc Fabregas believes referee Anthony Taylor had “a bad day at the office” after booking the Chelsea midfielder for diving during Sunday’s draw at Southampton.
Jose Mourinho was adamant Chelsea should have had a potentially match-defining penalty early in the second half when Fabregas went down under pressure from Matt Targett.
Instead of a spot-kick, however, referee Taylor deemed it a dive and booked the infuriated Spanish midfielder – part of a what manager Mourinho believes is a growing movement against his side.
“There was definitely contact,” Fabregas said on chelseafc.com.
“I don’t think the referee had the best game of his life but we’re all human and a bad day at the office can happen to anyone.
“That’s it, let’s not talk more about it, we have to talk about football.”
After the Barclays Premier League leaders’ run of five successive wins in all competitions was ended with a 1-1 draw at Southampton, Mourinho claimed Chelsea are the victim of a diving campaign which is costing them points.
“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 following the match.
“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 Tigers boss 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.”