After vowing not to talk about the referee, José Mourinho was unable to keep his promise and went as far as to say that it would be "helpful" if Chris Foy was prevented from officiating at Chelsea matches in the future.
Seething at the end of a fractious evening in the Midlands, Mourinho called on the authorities to "analyse" Foy's record in Chelsea fixtures after implying that the official had brandished a disproportionate number of red cards. Emotions were running high at Villa Park after Willian and Ramires were both sent off – along with Mourinho – which means Foy has dismissed six Chelsea players in his last eight matches involving the club. Not that the Chelsea manager needed his memory to be jogged by statistics.
"I know," Mourinho said. "The players were speaking about it during the week. My philosophy is that I never care who the ref is, I don't want to know. I always think that the referee is a good referee but during the week the players were speaking about the situation and I think from now on, the next time we have Mr Foy, I have to work my people in a different way."
Asked whether that meant he would stop his players from turning it into an issue by talking about Foy in the lead-up to the referee's next Chelsea game, Mourinho replied: "But do they [the players] have a reason? Maybe it is helpful that the [Professional Game Match Officials Limited] committee doesn't send him to our matches. I don't have the right to request [that]. I think they have to analyse the situation and see if every time he has Chelsea – or not every time – but many times he has Chelsea and problems are there, I think maybe it would be a good decision."
While the second yellow card that Foy showed Willian for a nudge on Fabian Delph seemed harsh, Chelsea could have no complaints about the straight red Ramires was given for a dreadful challenge on Karim El Ahmadi that sparked a mini-pitch invasion from both dugouts. Mourinho later accused Gabriel Agbonlahor, who had been withdrawn 15 minutes earlier, of grabbing Ramires by the neck.
"I went to the pitch, as everybody went, with one single objective – me and Paul [Lambert, Villa's manager] and my assistants and Paul's assistants – that was to calm one situation in the last minute of the game. The result is done, there is no more story, let's go there to help," Mourinho said. "At the same time Agbonlahor made an aggression on Ramires, which was a sad episode, but I didn't even try to stop Agbonlahor or to tell something to him – that's not my problem, he's not my player, I let Paul deal with it. I went there to try to calm and to try to say one little comment to Mr Foy, which he didn't allow."
Asked what that comment would have been, Mourinho said: "If he's allowed, him and [Jonathan] Moss [the fourth official], that one player jumps from the dugout to make an aggression on another player."
While it remains to be seen whether Mourinho will face any punishment from the Football Association for his conduct – a decision that will be taken after reviewing Foy's match report – the reality is the three points the Premier League leaders dropped are far more damaging than any potential touchline ban or fine. Chelsea will need to play with much more penetration and imagination in Tuesday's Champions League last-16 second leg game at home to Galatasaray if they are to get through.
At the same time, Aston Villa deserve huge credit for the way that they got under Chelsea's skin here and produced arguably their best performance since Lambert took over at the start of last season. Disciplined and well-organised in the first half, Villa grew in confidence after the interval and made their numerical advantage count when the impressive Delph broke from deep and, with a wonderful piece of improvisation, converted Marc Albrighton's cut-back with a sumptuous flick.
"I didn't think I was having one of my better games," Delph said. "I thought Joe Bennett, having been out for so long, he was terrific. Marc Albrighton coming on was great but I kept going and sometimes when your work rate stays the same you manage to get a lucky touch. They say I'm like elastic, I'm quite flexible. It's come behind me but I was sure I could connect with it. It was just whether it would go past Petr Cech."
Man of the match Fabian Delph (Aston Villa)