Sean Dyche questioned the treatment of the officials by Olympiakos players and officials at half time during Burnley’s 3-1 Europa League defeat in Athens.
The Clarets boss, among others, said he had witnessed a packed tunnel querying Slovenian referee Slavko Vincic and his assistants’ performance during the opening half, which saw the hosts appeals for a penalty turned away before Chris Wood scored a spot-kick at the other end.
The second half soon saw Burnley fall behind, following two quickfire bookings for Ben Gibson and Kevin Long in a free kick that led to a goal, followed by a third from the penalty spot, controversially awarded for hand ball against Gibson in an incident that saw the Burnley defender sent off.
“It’s interesting circumstances, I’ll say that,” mused Dyche afterwards.
“We responded to a goal and it was a good performance in the first half, I thought. Then, after the incident where they tried for a penalty, which wasn’t by the way, there were people on the pitch and around the referee, the linesman and fourth officials.
“All I keep getting told is respect the referees and about conduct and the scenes I saw at half time around the referee were interesting, from all and sundry.
“Then, things changed in the second half and you are left scratching your head. Ben gets booked early doors and within a millisecond Kevin gets booked in the same incident.
“Then, miraculously, it seems to me, one of our players is sent off when he goes to block the ball.
“I’ve seen it and it hits Ben’s hip first and his hand second and that’s deemed a professional hand ball and he’s sent off.”
He added: “I think you all saw that the feel was different in the second half and that’s not making any accusations; it’s just what I saw.
“That was interesting just because there were that many people involved in the tunnel – not just people on the bench. There were people from the offices, waiting for the referee to come in and let him know in no uncertain terms they weren’t happy with the referee’s performance.
“Don’t get me wrong, we take responsibility for our own game and that’s our side of it. But we try to control the controllables, and our fans have come a long way and they want to see their team play in Europe in an even, balanced game with nothing else involved and, unfortunately, they haven’t seen that tonight.”
Dyche, who was spoken to himself by the referee in the first half, added: “We are given very strict guidelines by UEFA about respect to referees and we walked straight up the tunnel and straight into our dressing room, as we are asked to do. And at the end (of the game) by the way, it’s really important to mention.
“The bigger thing for me is what happens on the pitch. Ironically the referee came to ask me what I was doing and I said I’d just asked the fourth official a question.
“No expletives, just asking him what happened. He came over to me and had a word.
“I thought it was quite amusing because I’d just seen their bench fly off physically onto the pitch and to the linesman and fourth official, with gesticulations and everything.
“I’ve just seen it back on DVD, but hey ho, you live and learn.”