Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel and Southampton counterpart Ralph Hasenhuttl bemoaned key video assistant referee interventions after the Blues won 3-1 against their 10-man opponents at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea forward Timo Werner had a first-half header ruled out because of a foul in the build-up by Cesar Azpilicueta, while Saints had captain James Ward-Prowse sent off for a late challenge on Jorginho with the score at 1-1.
Both decisions were made after input from VAR Mike Dean – Werner’s goal had been awarded by on-field official Martin Atkinson, who later chose only to book Ward-Prowse for his sliding tackle.
Hasenhuttl said he felt “relatively clear” Ward-Prowse would be sent off once Dean had instructed Atkinson to review the midfielder’s challenge.
“It’s always a little bit of a problem when we know Mike Dean is VAR because we have not had a good history with him to be honest,” Hasenhuttl told BBC Radio 5 Live.
Speaking to BBC Match of the Day, the Saints boss added: “When you press high then you sometimes have situations like this when you are a bit late.
“[On] the red card from VAR Mike Dean, it is the third time he gave us a red card while I am here, but OK.”
Ward-Prowse had drawn the visitors level from the penalty spot after 61 minutes, cancelling out Trevoh Chalobah’s opener.
But winless Southampton could not hold out for a point following Ward-Prowse’s dismissal with 13 minutes remaining, as Werner and Ben Chilwell struck in the final six minutes to send Chelsea top of the table.
Tuchel was relieved with the result but said he “could never believe” the decision to disallow Werner’s first-half goal.
Azpilicueta was adjudged to have fouled Kyle Walker-Peters in regaining possession on the right before crossing into the box. Though Romelu Lukaku was unable to reach the initial ball, Werner found the net when Callum Hudson-Odoi sent it back in from the opposite side.
Atkinson viewed the pitchside monitor and Tuchel received a booking for his reaction to the resulting decision.
“I was very angry because I could never believe this could happen in the Premier League where you would go back to a 50-50 that wasn’t even in close connection to the goal,” Tuchel said.
“I understood before the season that we didn’t want soft touches, that we wanted a contact game.
“We are here today in the middle of London in the rain in an intense game but the ref disallowed the goal.”