Neil Warnock says his wife would not have stopped him if he wanted to “thump the referee and linesman” after Cardiff’s controversial defeat by Chelsea.
The Bluebirds looked to be closing in on a priceless victory in their battle to stay in the Premier League when 1-0 up with only six minutes left.
However, Cesar Azpilicueta diverted Marcos Alonso’s flick-on to head home an equaliser – despite being at least two yards offside, before Ruben Loftus-Cheek scored a dramatic winner in stoppage-time.
“Live to fight another day!”— Cardiff City FC (@CardiffCityFC) March 31, 2019
Boss Warnock was left incandescent after the full-time whistle, also feeling Cardiff should have been given two penalties as well as Chelsea having Antonio Rudiger sent off by referee Craig Pawson.
Speaking after the match, the Cardiff boss felt the Premier League was “the best in the world”, but “probably the worst officials at the minute”, adding the manner of the defeat was “soul-destroying”.
Warnock, who had stood and shook his head as the officials walked off the pitch, revealed in a lengthy interview with talkSPORT that his wife Sharon had shared his frustration.
“When I came in yesterday, my wife said to me: ‘darling, if you had wanted to thump the referee and linesman, I wouldn’t have stopped you’. It was so unjust,” Warnock said.
“I’m obviously gutted. You could imagine what the dressing room was like.
“We played so well and I’m really proud of them, but once again we’ve been kicked in the teeth.
“We’ve worked our socks off for three weeks to get where we were, because we thought we could beat Chelsea and we did everything right, but then a human error like this?
“It’s just… well it’s unbelievable. I can’t describe my feelings.
“That could be the decision that costs us everything, because I thought we could put pressure on the other clubs, but now we’re battling against the odds again.
“I thought we had some major decisions (go against us) yesterday.
“The linesman yesterday said sorry to me after the game but it’s too late, what good is an apology?”
Warnock could find himself facing a disciplinary charge from the Football Association for his post-match comments.
“We’re having too many honest mistakes and it’s always the top teams who get the decisions,” the 70-year-old continued on talkSPORT.
“You just feel it’s such an injustice, and I’ve felt like that ever since Christmas.
“You almost begin to think, is it me? Is it payback time for all the years I’ve shouted at referees? Have they all got together now and said, ‘let’s get him out of this place’?
“I used to think that about one or two refs, but when I speak to them they’re not like that and I know they’re not like that.”
Warnock continued with his tirade against referees chief Mike Riley, whom he called on to leave his position.
The Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) declined to comment on the Cardiff manager’s claims.
Cardiff will continue their survival battle away at Premier League title challengers Manchester City on Wednesday night.
Azpilicueta, meanwhile, has called for Chelsea unity after fans demanded manager Maurizio Sarri be sacked during their comeback win.
The dramatic conclusion could not mask a poor Chelsea display, which saw disgruntled supporters vent their frustration at Sarri and call for the Italian to be dismissed.
Chelsea host Brighton on Wednesday and Azpilicueta said: “From the first minute, we have to create a good atmosphere on the pitch.
“I know the fans will be behind us but we have to give them what they want – fighting spirit, great football, and scoring goals.
“That’s what we both want and we have to pull in the same direction.”
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