STOKE-ON-TRENT, United Kingdom (AFP) – Swansea manager Garry Monk accused referee Michael Oliver of making a “disgusting decision” after his side lost 2-1 away to Stoke in the Premier League on Sunday.
Swansea were 1-0 up through a penalty of their own when, shortly before half-time, Oliver pointed to the spot at the other end of the Britannia Stadium after the Swans’ Angel Rangel made minimal contact with Victor Moses, who appeared to dive in the box.
Nevertheless, Oliver signalled a penalty and Charlie Adam’s spot-kick beat the dive of Swansea keeper Lukasz Fabianski.
Stoke went on to win thanks to Jonathan Walters’s 76th-minute header.
But there was no doubting the second penalty was the turning point of the match and a furious Monk told Sky Sports afterwards: “Today was an absolute disgusting decision from the referee.
“Victor Moses should be done for diving, he cheated us.
“It’s happening week after week and it’s always against us. I contacted Mike Riley (the head of the Premier League referees’ department) but haven’t heard anything and I think that’s very poor leadership from him.
“This is the highest level and if they can’t perform at this level they shouldn’t be there.”
Monk’s comment seems certain to land him in disciplinary trouble but the unrepentant boss added: “What have I said wrong? I haven’t said anything wrong, I haven’t called anyone names, it’s not slanderous.”
Unsurprisingly, Stoke manager Mark Hughes took a different view.
“With Victor Moses’ pace in the box, Angel Rangel has come across him and impeded him in my view,” said the former Manchester United and Wales striker.
“It doesn’t take too much at that pace. I actually heard him (Monk) say my player is a cheat, which is unacceptable in my view.
“Obviously he is upset, and we have to come in here and speak 20 minutes after the game but sometimes you just have to bite your tongue, maybe that will come with experience.”
Victory saw Stoke climb to 10th place in the table, level on points with Manchester United, Arsenal, Swansea and Tottenham Hotspur.
Oliver first pointed to the spot after Stoke defender Ryan Shawcross grappled Wilfried Bony to the ground as the pair waited for a Swansea corner to come in.
Shawcross was booked while the decision was met with disbelieving jeers from Stoke fans who, in common with many English football-watchers, had grown used to seeing such incidents go unpunished.
However, Oliver had issued a warning before the corner.
Ivory Coast striker Bony then got up to send Stoke goalkeeper Asmir Begovic the wrong way as Swansea went 1-0 up in the 34th minute.
“I am disappointed because Ryan Shawcross has been highlighted in the media as apparently holding players in the box which is a complete nonsense,” said Hughes.
“I see everybody holding people at corners. The fact that it has been highlighted was maybe in the back of the referee’s mind. Wilfried Bony is a big lad, and he goes down too easily in my mind.”
Meanwhile a defiant Shawcross told the BBC: “If the decisions are given every single game I will accept it but I very much doubt they will.
“In the press from previous games I have been singled out and it seems when the bigger players do it is world-class defending but when I do it is cheating.”
The 67th minute saw Swansea’s South Korea midfielder Ki Sung-yueng twice denied as he tried to restore the Welsh club’s lead but his first shot from 12 yards out was blocked and the follow-up saved by Begovic.
Begovic subsequently repelled Ki’s 25-yard free-kick and Swansea couldn’t force an equaliser in four minutes of added-on time.