LONDON • Roberto Martinez criticised the standard of refereeing in English football as Everton were denied a first league double over Chelsea in 37 years by John Terry's equaliser in the eighth minute of added time.
The goal was allowed to stand despite the centre-half converting from an offside position.
Blues interim manager Guus Hiddink conceded that his captain's back-heeled attempt that earned the hosts a 3-3 draw on Saturday should have been chalked off by the assistant referee, Peter Kirkup, though that was no consolation for a seething Martinez.
"I am very angry," said the Everton manager.
HARD TO TAKE
It was a horrific decision right at the end, clearly offside, and a goal conceded well over the allotted time. It is something that is black and white and not open to interpretation.
ROBERTO MARTINEZ, Everton manager, on the late equaliser by Chelsea.
"It was a horrific decision right at the end, clearly offside, and a goal conceded well over the allotted time.
"It is something that is black and white and not open to interpretation.
"All you want is the referee to do his job. The linesman is in a good position and John Terry is clearly offside...
"The level of the referee is (diabolical) in that respect."
The Spaniard was also aggrieved that Terry's equaliser - the latest scored in a English Premier League game since November 2011 - had been plundered after 97min 53sec.
The fourth official's board had suggested that there would be a minimum of seven minutes' added time, although the lengthy celebrations following Ramiro Funes Mori's stoppage-time goal could have contributed to the belated full-time whistle.
In any case, Martinez's real frustration centred on the offside.
"To have a player two yards offside in the box? That's unacceptable," he added.
"Terry is offside when Branislav Ivanovic touches it and two yards offside when Oscar does. That's a major error which is difficult to take."
The draw meant that the Toffees dropped a further two points from winning positions, taking their tally to a league-high 11 this season - six more than any other side.
Since Nov 28, Everton have not gotten maximum points from nine league games in which they led.
The visitors were 2-0 up at one stage thanks to a Terry own goal and a crisp turn and shot by Kevin Mirallas.
Chelsea, who had offered virtually nothing in attack for the first hour, levelled with two goals in two minutes after Diego Costa cashed in on a mix-up between Phil Jagielka and goalkeeper Tim Howard, who was then left helpless when Cesc Fabregas' shot took a huge deflection.
"To be 2-0 down against one of the smartest teams in the league, I'm very happy with the spirit and attitude of the team," said Hiddink.
The Blues remain unbeaten in seven matches since Jose Mourinho's dismissal last month.
But the Dutchman has overseen just one league win and time is running out for a late charge for a Champions League place.
Chelsea, still in the bottom half of the table, have already conceded more goals in 22 games this season (34) than in last year's entire campaign (32).
Hiddink conceded that hopes of a top-four finish are diminishing quickly. And while he was relieved at salvaging a point, his mood was darkened by a shin injury suffered by Costa that led to the Spain forward being sent to hospital.
Costa, who has netted five goals in his five appearances under Hiddink after bagging just four in 21 before his arrival, had a precautionary scan.
"We don't know the result yet and I hope it's not bad," said Hiddink. "He was in a lot of pain, that's true.
"We can move in the transfer market if we want to, but at the moment we are doing nothing.
"We hope Diego comes out the hospital in good health and we go on as we are doing."
THE GUARDIAN, REUTERS