ESPN FC: Lucky blues?
Paul Lambert believes Branislav Ivanovic was lucky to escape a red card after elbowing Christian Benteke during Chelsea’s 2-1 victory over Aston Villa.
• Worrall: Fortunate Chelsea claim controversial win
Ivanovic went on to score the winning goal for Chelsea, who went top of the Premier League after a second victory in four days under Jose Mourinho.
Lambert said: "It’s a sending-off, it is there for everybody to see. He clearly elbowed Christian."
Lambert, who praised his side’s performance just days after winning at Arsenal, was also upset at being denied a stoppage-time penalty after John Terry appeared to handle the ball in the area.
He added: "The penalty was a penalty, everybody saw that. The referee missed two huge moments. How can you miss a decision of that magnitude? It is beyond me. My team were brilliant. I don’t think we deserved to lose that game."
Chelsea boss Mourinho, who clashed with Lambert on the touchline, admitted Villa were unlucky to be denied a point.
He said: "If we were here now with a draw it wouldn’t be an unfair result.
"Paul Lambert reminds me of me at his age. Now, I complain with some decisions, at his age I complained at every decision. Paul complains at every decision, I was the same."
The Portuguese added that referee Kevin Friend had called the majority of the decisions correctly, saying: “Benteke and Ivanovic are two giants, it was 50/50.
"I think the referee did very, very well. A penalty? It’s a free-kick against Aston Villa.
"If somebody pushes an opponent, especially in the box in dangerous areas, it’s a free-kick against."
Lambert welcomed Mourinho’s comparison, claiming he would be happy to emulate the former Porto, Inter Milan and Real Madrid manager’s success.
"He said I remind him of him," Lambert asked.
"He’s a brilliant manager. He’s done it every place he’s been in. It’s probably a nice compliment. He’s 10 years older than me? Six?
"He’s no shrinking violet, just so you know. If in six years’ time I’m like him, I’ll be quite happy."