Burnley boss Sean Dyche has stressed that the only thing he wants referees to do is perform in a “right and proper” way.
Dyche’s men host Olympiakos on Thursday evening in the second leg of their Europa League qualifying play-off, having lost last week’s first leg in Greece 3-1.
The first half of that game saw Chris Wood’s penalty cancel out Kostas Fortounis’ opener and Olympiakos had some enthusiastic penalty appeals rejected by referee Slavko Vincic.
The hosts subsequently went 2-1 up soon after the break and then added another goal on the hour when Ben Gibson was judged to have been guilty of handball in the box by Vincic, who showed him a second yellow card, and Fortounis converted the resulting penalty.
Dyche afterwards questioned Vincic’s decision-making in that moment, and said that at half-time “all and sundry” from Olympiakos had spoken to the referee in the tunnel, “making it clear they weren’t happy” with his performance.
At his pre-match press conference ahead of the second leg, Dyche was asked if he was happy that the game would have an experienced referee – Hungary’s Viktor Kassai, who refereed a semi-final at the 2010 World Cup and the 2011 Champions League final.
Dyche said: “It’s one of those things. We all question referees, everyone in football.
“Referees referee in different styles, in different ways, they referee different teams and how the teams work. Different styles of football, as in the Premier League against European leagues. That’s just part and parcel of the package.
“I tried to speak in facts (last week). We still have to take care of ourselves – you have to win a game, play well enough to win a game.
“It’s just helpful if certain things go your way. But you have got to deliver performances to win games.”
It was then put to Dyche that Kassai being the referee for this game suggested UEFA saw it as a high-profile one, and he said: “Yeah – or they maybe looked at the reports from the last game and thought ‘hmm – maybe not as good as what we would hope.’ I don’t know.
“It’s one of those fine lines for a manager, and it’s a hard one, because you have to question the referee appropriately at the right times, but you have to leave them alone to do their job.
“I’ve always said, the toughest three jobs in football on any given Saturday, or whenever a game is played, are the two managers and the referee.
“They (referees) often get questioned heavily, and I tried not to. I just tried to state some facts in the game at Olympiakos.
“If the referee tomorrow is that good and his background is that good… I didn’t even know that – that’s the interest I pay in referees. I just want them to officiate right and proper.
“I don’t look into their background. Some managers do. I don’t know how many red cards, yellow cards they give out. I’m never interested in that.
“I just hope on that day they deliver a good performance.”
Dyche, who has Johann Berg Gudmundsson (hamstring) unavailable as well as the suspended Gibson, has described Burnley’s task in the play-off as “a decent-sized one” while stressing their belief that “the tie is still alive”.