Alan Pardew admits Crystal Palace deserved to lose against Southampton but has questioned the penalty decision for the first goal.
Pardew made a host of changes to his side for the EFL Cup clash at St Mary’s, and it showed as the home side progressed, winning 2-0.
Charlie Austin scored from the penalty spot, after Martin Kelly’s first-half challenge on Shane Long, and Jake Hesketh added Southampton’s second in the 63rd minute to ensure their progress to the competition’s fourth round at Palace’s expense.
Southampton’s was a convincing performance – their former manager Pardew acknowledged they deserved victory – but after doubting the penalty decision the 55-year-old accused Long of having “history”.
Palace captain Scott Dann went off with a suspected hamstring injury in the 19th minute. Kelly replaced him in central defence, and his clumsy touch gifted Long possession before an equally poor challenge brought him down.
The decision appeared the correct one, but four days after Long was booked for simulation against Swansea, Pardew said: “Shane Long is quick and has got a bit of history in those situations.
“He was definitely going over, I know that, but the video I saw was inconclusive. The players felt it was a bit harsh but it was difficult to see unless you see it clearly on television.
“The best team won for sure. They were very sharp. Their passing and movement caused us problems. It is always a risk when you make a lot of changes and we had one or two players that looked a bit rusty.
“We didn’t have enough imagination to find a route to goal.”