Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi expressed his anger at Aston Villa’s time-wasting and hit out at referee Christopher Kavanagh for losing control of their 2-1 Premier League home defeat.
The Seagulls were left frustrated at the Amex Stadium after Danny Ings hit a brace to cancel out Alexis Mac Allister’s first-minute opener.
Brighton pushed for a leveller and eight minutes of stoppage time were added on, but De Zerbi was booked for remonstrating about Villa’s slow play with goalkeeper Emi Martinez at one stage throwing the ball out due to an apparent injury – after making a save from Leonardo Trossard – only to recover seconds later.
Matty Cash and John McGinn received cautions for time-wasting with referee Kavanagh dishing out seven yellow cards in total for the visitors but it failed to prevent the official receiving some heat from the Brighton head coach.
“If the games are 90 minutes, during the 90 minutes you have to play, you can’t play 45 or 44 minutes,” De Zerbi said.
“To lose is not a big problem. It is not a big problem to lose one game like with Villa we lost, but I would like to play normal time. Not 90 minutes because it is not normal to play for 90 minutes but maybe 60 minutes no?
“Yes, a lot of wasting time. Too much wasting time. I thought before I came to work in the Premier League. I thought in the Premier League the people were correct, also in Italy, also in Latin countries, but it is not like this.
“I think the referee had to control the game. This work is his work. Not my work, not my players’ work, not our fans work. For this situation I was angry and frustrated.”
De Zerbi was also left bemused by the decision not to award his side a spot-kick in the 70th minute.
Solly March stole in ahead of Lucas Digne, who proceeded to kick the Brighton attacker but even though VAR Jarred Gillet reviewed the incident, no foul was awarded.
De Zerbi added: “About this particular situation, I don’t like to speak or like to focus, but you have to watch again. Both penalties. First for Villa and second for us, because also, the first penalty it is not so clear.”
After Mac Allister had rifled Brighton ahead with only a minute on the clock, Villa regrouped and levelled when Ings fired home from the spot after 20 minutes.
McGinn won the penalty after being brought down by Lewis Dunk.
Dunk was also at fault for the winner with Douglas Luiz able to rob Mac Allister of possession. Ings dribbled beyond the Seagulls centre-back too easily before his effort beat Robert Sanchez after it deflected off Levi Colwill to give Villa a first Premier League win on the road at the eighth time of asking.
Villa boss Unai Emery said: “Away we didn’t win but the first step was to be competitive.
“I know at home they were playing well, being competitive and not winning all matches they deserved, but the challenge and my challenge was to win away.
“We played very well in Manchester on Thursday but the last minutes we didn’t keep our mentality like I wanted.
“Today was different. It was difficult match, tough defensively (and) we had to be together. Everyone was so focused on set-pieces, corners. We had some players out but really, I think the job was fantastic.”