strong words

'It's the best league in the world but the worst officials. They don't understand what is at stake'

Cardiff boss Neil Warnock was scathing in his criticism of the officials during his side’s defeat to Chelsea this afternoon.

CARDIFF BOSS NEIL Warnock decried the officiating during today’s defeat to Chelsea – labelling it “criminal” – after a host of controversial calls went against his side.

Maurizio Sarri’s men were pressed against the ropes on Sunday when the relegation-threatened hosts took the lead in the first half through Victor Camarasa.

But with “Sarri out” chants circulating through the visiting end – answered by “Sarri in” from Cardiff fans – the Blues received a reprieve. Cesar Azpilicueta was on hand to head the equaliser home just six minutes from time as he steered past Neil Etheridge.

The only problem, for Cardiff and neutral fans at least, was that the Spain international looked to be in a clearly offside position when he struck.

The full-back was in fact one of two Chelsea men beyond the last defender when Marcos Alonso crossed the ball.

There were also calls for Antonio Rudiger to go after what many felt was a last-man tackle on Cardiff striker, Kenneth Zohore.

To add insult to injury, Ruben Loftus-Cheek swooped in injury time to hand Chelsea all three points, sinking Cardiff further into relegation woe.

Cardiff City v Chelsea - Premier League - Cardiff City Stadium Nick Potts Neil Warnock exchanges words with Maurizio Sarri after today's game. Nick Potts

“It’s difficult because I am really flat,” he told reporters after the game. “I am so proud of my players. To get let down by the officials… roll on VAR.

“We worked three weeks for this but to get let down by decisions. No major decisions went for us.

They don’t realise what is at stake. If I was a Burnley or a Brighton fan, they will be absolutely loving it today.

“It’s not our fault an official can’t see that, it is the most obvious offside I have ever seen or the most certain penalty I have ever seen.

“What goes through my mind? Is it payback time for me over the years?

It’s the best league in the world but the worst officials. They don’t understand what is at stake. They shouldn’t make mistakes at this level.

“Why am I working at 70 years of age for things like that to happen? It’s not very often I am lost for words.

My players feel like they have been kicked in the teeth. We’ve been kicked so many times. I don’t deserve officials like that today. There is no excuse for that, it’s criminal.

“If my players feel like they look in the dressing room, that’s the end of our season. But how many times have we bounced back this season?”

Cardiff are now five points from safety with seven games remaining.

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