Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi insists he will not be “fooled around” by further meetings with referees’ chief Howard Webb after criticising match official Darren England following a frustrating 1-0 defeat to Fulham.
De Zerbi was shown a red card in the tunnel at the Amex Stadium, having rushed onto the pitch to berate England for his performance.
Webb, the chief refereeing officer at Professional Game Match Officials Limited, visited Albion’s training ground on Thursday and was praised by the Italian coach for being honest and approachable.
But De Zerbi, whose side dominated Saturday’s Premier League clash before Cottagers substitute Manor Solomon struck an 88th-minute winner, believes the discussions were a waste of time in light of England’s display.
“If you want to come to me to have a meeting and if you want me to lose two hours of my time, of my work, you have to have a different attitude on the pitch,” said De Zerbi.
“If you want to improve football, they have to be with another attitude, only this.
“And I don’t want to speak about a particular situation, it was a penalty or other things. I am speaking only of attitude.
“One time I lost time with the meeting and it will never happen again. I am not in England just to be fooled around by the meetings.”
De Zerbi was adamant he did not swear at England but, aside from being unhappy with the official’s attitude, did not elaborate on specific issues.
“I think he’s not a good level of referee,” he continued. “But I think the referees in the Premier League are not enough for this very important league.”
Asked whether he merited a red card, he replied: “It’s not right but it’s not a problem.”
Substitute Solomon, who played for De Zerbi at Shakhtar Donetsk, came back to haunt his former boss as Fulham leapfrogged their hosts into sixth place by snatching all three points.
The Cottagers, without top scorer Aleksandar Mitrovic due to a minor injury, rarely threatened in Sussex, while dominant Brighton had 21 attempts at goal.
De Zerbi has aspirations of guiding the Seagulls into Europe and suggested he would rather lose than play like Marco Silva’s side.
“I spoke with my players and told them I am very proud for the performance,” he said. “I love to play like this.
“I don’t love to win a game like Fulham, but it’s not my problem. Sometimes it’s better to lose one game in this kind – to play well than to win in another way.
“It’s my idea of football, my idea of life. You can’t change my idea.”
Silva conceded his team had been fortunate to win.
“Overall, it’s a great three points for us,” said the Portuguese. “Probably I have to say Brighton deserved more from the game.
“But we have so many games that we played better than our opposition sides and in the last minutes of the game we have lost as well.
“It wasn’t our best performance, we didn’t perform at our best level definitely.”