Frustrated Warnock finds empathetic ally in Hughton

Brighton manager Chris Hughton has empathised with Neil Warnock after a refereeing error cost relegation rivals Cardiff dearly in Sunday’s controversial 2-1 defeat to Chelsea.

The decision not to disallow Cesar Azpilicueta’s late offside equaliser prompted Bluebirds boss Warnock to brand Premier League officials the “worst in the world”.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s stoppage-time winner compounded 18th-placed Cardiff’s sense of injustice, leaving them five points adrift of Brighton, Southampton and Burnley in the battle for survival.

“I certainly can understand Neil’s frustration after a game where there were some decisions that went against his team,” said Hughton, who watched the game on television.

“I can understand his feelings and his emotions.

“We’re also a team that’s been on the end of some poor decisions that have gone against us. It’s part and parcel of the games.”

Warnock, who was also unhappy with some other decisions, walked onto the pitch at the end of the match and had a prolonged stand-off with referee Craig Pawson and his assistants, including Eddie Smart who made the glaring error.

Hughton, however, disagreed with Warnock’s assessment of refereeing in the top-flight.

He also expects significant improvements with the forthcoming introduction of video assistant referee (VAR) technology.

“I certainly feel that we have a good overall standard of refereeing here,” continued Hughton.

“VAR will come in next season and I think that will change the game.

“But at this moment there are still going to be decisions that are going to be tough to take, particularly with the number of cameras now that we have at stadiums and the amount of footage that’s being shown.”

With Cardiff leading 1-0 going into the closing stages of the game with Chelsea, Albion appeared in danger of being sucked to within touching distance of the bottom three after losing at home to Southampton on Saturday.

But the late drama at the Cardiff City Stadium provided welcome relief ahead of their trip to Chelsea on Wednesday evening.

With eight league games remaining, Hughton has urged his players to take control of their own destiny rather than hope for further slip-ups from their rivals.

“I suppose the first priority for us is to make sure that our own results are good enough, that we don’t have to rely on others,” he said.

“But as soon as our result is finished you want the other teams around you to have not done well.

“We are amongst a group of teams that are fighting every game and we’ve got to be fighting, if anything, even harder than them.”

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