Slaven Bilic claims ref Jon Moss was fooled into giving Leicester a penalty
Published 17/04/2016 | 19:46
West Ham boss Slaven Bilic refused to criticise referee Jon Moss but insisted he was fooled into giving Leicester a point-saving penalty.
The 10-man Foxes increased their lead at the top of the Barclays Premier League to eight points after Leonardo Ulloa's injury-time spot-kick rescued a 2-2 draw.
The hosts recovered after conceding twice in a breathless final six minutes to Andy Carroll's penalty and Aaron Cresswell's stunning volley.
Moss also sent off Jamie Vardy, who opened the scoring in a dramatic game, for diving and was given a security escort off the pitch at the end of the game after a string of controversial decisions.
Ulloa scored after Carroll brought down Jeff Schlupp in stoppage time, but while Bilic sympathised with Moss he insisted he was wrong.
He said: "I'm not eagle-eyed, I'm not an ex-referee, I'm not Howard Webb, I'm a football coach and I don't want to talk about that.
"On the contrary I would like to say it's hard for him. Not only here but here you have 32,000 people screaming at every contact in the box, every long ball in the box. If it's for the home side it's a penalty or handball.
"If it's in the other box it's cheat, dive or whatever. It's hard, it's extremely hard for him a nd the game went like crazy and they were losing and so it was extremely hard for him.
"It's easy now to say that the refs shouldn't get influenced by the fans. On paper it is easy to say that. Actually it's real life.
"Of course it's not a penalty."
Vardy was dismissed for a second yellow card in the second half after Moss ruled he dived under a challenge from Angelo Ogbonna and awarded the Hammers an 84th-minute penalty when Wes Morgan tangled with Winston Reid in the box.
He gave Leicester their own spot-kick deep in injury time and Foxes boss Claudio Ranieri also declined to hit out at Moss but insisted Vardy did not dive.
"What changes? It's 2-2. Nothing changes. Never have I spoke or will speak about the referee," he said.
"He (Vardy) never dives. He's always good. He's very fast, and at this speed, if you touch even a little then (you may go down). But it's okay. I always speak with the players about our performance and our performance was good.
"Also, it was better with 10 v 11, very close, when we conceded the second goal, my players wanted to draw and it was unbelievable, fantastic. Amazing."
Second-placed Tottenham will close the gap if they beat Stoke on Monday night but Ranieri insisted he is not concerned about dropping points.
He said: "Never we are worried. We were worried at the beginning of the season to achieve 40 points. Now we enjoy, I never speak with my players about the gap, blah, blah, blah. Everything is in our hands. If we fight and win it's okay.
"If the other team, it could be Tottenham or Arsenal, is better than us and win the title, well done. We are doing the maximum. If there is another team who play better and win more than us, well done to them."
The draw further dented the Hammers' top four hopes and Bilic insisted his side deserved to win.
He added: "I thought - and I still think - we did enough to win the game. But then at the end we first made a mistake because we had the ball in the middle of the park in a situation where you know they are going to take risks. They don't care about if they are going to concede one more or not.
"But then you can't lose the ball in that situation. After that what happened makes us and me feel very frustrated, very disappointed."