Tottenham midfielder Nabil Bentaleb has responded emphatically to potentially inflammatory comments from West Ham manager Sam Allardyce by remarking that sometimes "you just have to shut your mouth and not complain".
Allardyce, who witnessed his team blow a comfortable two-goal advantage during Sunday's (22 February) derby at White Hart Lane, appeared particularly aggrieved by the incident that led to Harry Kane going to ground in the penalty area under pressure from Alex Song with mere seconds remaining in the contest and West Ham leading 2-1.
Although goalkeeper Adrian saved Kane's disappointing spotkick, the England hopeful made no mistake from the rebound and took his tally for the season to an impressive 22 goals from 35 appearances. And while Allardyce bemoaned "desperate" Tottenham and the honesty of his own players in similar situations, Bentaleb was in no doubt whatsoever that the penalty was deserved.
"He can say whatever he wants and I can understand if he's a little bit angry because we scored in the last minute. But it's not true. There is no doubt it was a penalty," the Algeria international was quoted as saying by the London Evening Standard.
"If he wants to argue we could also say Mark Noble should have had a second booking when he fouled me in the second half. But this is football. Sometimes the referee makes decisions and you just have to shut your mouth and not complain."
West Ham performed admirably for much of the match against their frustrated London rivals and took the lead after 22 minutes courtesy of a header from summer signing Cheikhou Kouyate.
Despite not really retaining the majority of possession at any stage, Allardyce's side were largely comfortable defensively and doubled their advantage in the second half when Diafra Sakho guided Noble's cross beyond Hugo Lloris from the tightest of angles.
The decision to replace Noble with striker Carlton Cole after the former narrowly escaped a red card during an altercation with Jan Vertonghen led to a slight loss of shape and fluency for the visitors and Adrian will have been upset to concede a particularly untidy goal after Danny Rose's long-range effort crashed into the turf and looped over the Spaniard's despairing dive.
Kane's last-gasp equaliser, while obviously irritating Allardyce, will have come as a source of great relief to Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino, who declared after the game that he deemed his team worthy of more than a draw.
For West Ham, a point is certainly a respectable return from a difficult fixture but they can be forgiven for lamenting the loss of two more after leading for so long. The club are on a run of five games without a victory and old tensions between supporters and those in charge resurfaced during last week's FA Cup humiliation at West Brom amid strong speculation that the manager will depart Upton Park when his contract expires at the end of the season.