West Ham manager Slaven Bilic felt Diego Costa was lucky to still be on the pitch to score the late winner as West Ham lost 2-1 at Chelsea in the Premier League.
Costa, who drilled home from 20 yards in the 89th minute, escaped punishment for a late tackle on Hammers goalkeeper Adrian having already been booked for dissent.
Bilic told Sky Sports that the striker should have been sent off for the 67th-minute challenge, even if he did not mean to connect with Adrian’s leg.
“He had already been booked and it wasn’t reckless and I don’t think that it was deliberate but it was quite late, the ball was already gone and he could have, or should have, been booked again, which would mean a red card,” Bilic said.
The coach added in his news conference: “I saw that incident again, I don’t think it was reckless. It was from my point of view not deliberate, but it was very late.
“Nine times out of 10 you see that challenge and get one [a yellow card] — unfortunately this was the 10th time.”
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte disagreed, saying in his news conference that Costa pulled out of the challenge before colliding with Adrian.
“I must be honest — Diego tried to put pressure on Adrian and then before he had the contact he stopped it,” Conte said. “For this reason I think the referee took the right decision.
“We know Diego is a passionate man and he puts passion in everything he does. But in this situation I think the referee took the right decision.”
West Ham rarely looked like threatening Thibaut Courtois’s goal until James Collins scored with the Hammers’ first shot on target in the 77th minute.
And even Bilic had to admit that Chelsea were the better side on the course of 90 minutes.
“It’s a big frustration for us because we were so close against a top side on their ground. But they deserved it,” Bilic said. “Let’s be honest — apart from the first 15 minutes and from the time we equalised, for that period of about one hour they were better than us.
“They didn’t create many chances but they had that individual class. Not only that, they were much more aggressive — they won the second balls and if you add on top of that players like Hazard on top form, I have to admit they were better than us.
“I’m more disappointed with the late goal than with the incident with Costa. We didn’t play well and we can do much better.”
West Ham also suffered a blow when new signing Andre Ayew had to come off in the first half after suffering a thigh injury.
“We have to wait on Andre Ayew,” Bilic said. “It is a thigh injury and we will find out after the scan tomorrow.”