SOUTHAMPTON -- Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has claimed a "campaign" is being waged against his team after his side were denied a penalty in Sunday's 1-1 draw at Southampton.
Cesc Fabregas was convinced he should have had a spot-kick after he went over Saints defender Matt Targett's leg 55 minutes into the game, but the Chelsea midfielder was booked for simulation by referee Anthony Taylor.
Asked about the incident in his postmatch news conference, Mourinho said: "I think this is a result of something that looks like a campaign."
Chelsea have had the most yellow cards for simulation so far this season, receiving four with Manchester City and Sunderland both having two.
Reflecting on previous incidents when his players had been booked for diving, he said: "In other countries this is front-page news because it's an absolute scandal.
"In the first match [against Burnley], Diego [Costa] was booked when it should have been a penalty and a red card for their player. A few months later, we lose two points in a match when the penalty is there and Fabregas gets a yellow card. We have had bad yellow cards.
"After the game against West Ham [on Boxing Day], in a game that finished 2-0 and could have been four or five, Enner Valencia made a bad dive and all I hear at the end is an incident with Branislav Ivanovic. What is this?
"I do not make campaigns and this is not against me -- this is against Chelsea. Against Chelsea, yes. In the last couple of weeks, the two most important things in my matches in my opinion: Filipe Luis and Eden Hazard could be now in hospital with broken legs. And people speak about Gary Cahill [diving] against Hull City."
Mourinho also suggested his title rivals were benefiting from favourable refereeing decisions as he returned to the subject of Taylor's decision to book Fabregas.
"Today we have a crucial decision against two good teams in a very tight match where there is not many chances and the referee makes a wrong decision again," he said.
"There are incidents in matches when we can have a different opinion, but there are others when everyone has the same opinion. I don't need to speak about this because everyone knows [it was a penalty]. The referee made a mistake, a big mistake. He assumed that decision.
"He is a very good referee, he is a good guy. He is young. He has years and years of football ahead of him and this was a big mistake, but life goes on. Why don't people speak about this?
"You also forget other things -- Man City vs. Crystal Palace, goal is not offside and you don't speak a lot about it. Manchester United vs. Newcastle, there should be a penalty and a red card for [Juan] Mata, but you don't speak about it.
"I don't know, I don't care. Chelsea is playing very well since the beginning of the season. That is the only thing I concentrate on. We are top of the league because we deserve it and it is a consequence of what we did. I am so happy with my players."
Mourinho rued the fact that FA rules prohibit referees rescinding yellow cards after reviewing TV evidence.
"In football, we should always try to change the bad things and the double punishment is something unbelievable," he said. "You have a penalty and you probably win the game. Instead, you don't get the penalty and you get the yellow card.
"It should be easy. Anthony [Taylor] goes to a screen, he sees he made a mistake. He's a good guy and an honest guy. He says, 'I made a mistake and let's clean the yellow card for Fabregas.' It's a simple process.
"He should look at the TV and say, 'Sorry, the two points I cannot give you, but I can clean the Fabregas yellow card.' Double punishment, double mistake."
Southampton manager Ronald Koeman understood the anger of his former Barcelona colleague, but philosophically concluded "it's part of football.''
"If the referee thinks it's simulation then you have to give the player a yellow card, but you will have always the decision if it's simulation or really a fault in the box,'' he said. "I have to watch that moment in the game because maybe for Chelsea that was an important moment to win the game.''
It was a moment which allowed Saints to show an impressive resilience, denying the Blues a winner which at times seemed imminent.
"Of course, one point against Chelsea is maybe three points against another opponent,'' Koeman said. "I am proud of the players, the organisation in the team, the spirit in the team. We knew it would be very difficult but the boys did it fantastic.
"Of course we passed some difficult moments in the game. I was a little bit disappointed at half-time because we conceded before half-time, but we stayed organised in the team.
"We got a little bit of lucky but you need that against these good teams to get a result.''