Everton manager Frank Lampard claimed even his three-year-old daughter could see that his side should have been awarded a penalty late on in a 1-0 defeat by Manchester City in the Premier League on Saturday.
Minutes after Phil Foden had given the league leaders an 82nd-minute lead at Goodison Park, Everton were convinced City midfielder Rodri had used his arm to control the ball in his own penalty area.
Referee Paul Tierney did not award a penalty and after a VAR check, City were spared what could have been a potential hammer blow to their title hopes.
Everton defended well to hold City but now find themselves just one point above the relegation zone with 22 points from 24 league games, their lowest tally at this stage of a league campaign since 1929-30.
“I was calm, I was not shouting and ranting at him. I wanted to know if it was offside in the build up but I have been told it wasn’t in the build up,” said Lampard, who replaced Rafa Benitez last month.
“Go to VAR, they have two minutes to look at it and to think they have not given that as a penalty when it strikes him on the arm, in an unnatural position. I have a three-year-old daughter at home who could tell you that was a penalty.”
The Premier League explained the decision, saying the ball had not hit Rodri below the sleeve line or “red zone”.
With 18th-placed Burnley showing form, Everton are in real danger of relegation, although Lampard found plenty of positives from the performance of his side.
“We have to accept it. We have to take pride in the performance against a top team,” he said.
“If the table doesn’t look great in a couple of weeks then so be it. It didn’t look great when I came but I have seen big improvements. Don’t look too much at the table for the next few weeks. I am not buying time with that, we are going to work.
“If we play with the energy and passion like we did today my feeing is we will be fine.”
Both teams showed their support for besieged Ukraine before kickoff with Everton players draped in Ukraine flags and City’s wearing “No War” T-shirts.
Both teams had Ukraine internationals on their bench with City’s Oleksandr Zinchenko and Everton’s Vitaliy Mykolenko both appearing on the verge of tears as they witnessed the show of support.
Lampard said that put his own frustration into perspective.
“That means much more than a penalty shout. To see Mykolenko the last few days has been a huge perspective for me. For anyone that has seen videos then to see Zinchenko,” he said.
“Can we not be at peace with each other? Disagree with each other but not see things that are happening at the minute.”