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Burnley boss Sean Dyche is concerned we are seeing a move away from the ‘light touch’ protocol referees were instructed to apply at the start of the season.

Back in August, officials were told to let small, niggly fouls go – to allow some contact back into the game and help make it more free-flowing.

But Dyche – for a long time a lone voice in the game as regards clamping down on diving – wonders if that lighter touch is still being applied after a number of mystifying refereeing displays recently at Turf Moor.

There has been nothing that has directly influenced a game, but Dyche feels soft fouls are creeping back into the game.

He said: “I don’t want to cry it in too much, but what I’m worried about at the minute is the performance from the referee on Saturday is going back to two years ago.

“I think we had a really good year last year, when I think everyone - fans alike - seemed happy the game was flowing more.

“On Saturday, there were so many, I thought, nothing situations that were penalised.

“Westy got booked and I don’t think he even touched the man, I’ve seen it back and I don’t think he physically touched him, so I’m a little bit worried it’s going to start going backwards.

“The last few weeks I’ve seen it again where players are falling on the floor and referees are giving them immediately, and I thought there were too many of those on Saturday.

“But that was nothing to do with the result, by the way, we didn’t take care of the result, but the bigger picture of what’s going on, I don’t think fans - I certainly don’t want to see it go back to where it was - but over the last three, four weeks I’ve been seeing it again, and I must say I saw it on Saturday, players going down far too easily and the referee giving fouls.”

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