Gareth Evans sprang to the defence of Nathan Thompson and insisted: That’s the modern game.
Thompson was involved in the controversial sending off of Alex Mowatt, an incident pivotal Pompey’s 3-0 victory.
The Oxford United midfielder smacked a disputed 60th-minute penalty against the inside of the left post, with Thompson then appearing to shout in his face.
Mowatt responded by slapping the Blues player with a powerful left-handed swing, prompting a ruck between the sides.
In the aftermath, Luke McGee was given a yellow card – and Mowatt sent off.
With the scoreline 1-0 at the time, Pompey ran out 3-0 winners against the visiting 10 men.
Typical referees these days, you go to speak to them and they won’t be spoken to, I don’t know whyGareth Evans
And Evans defended the actions of the Blues during those confrontational scenes.
He said: ‘That’s the way the game is nowadays, if you can get a decision forced by having a word with the ref and reiterating what you think has gone on then that’s what happens.
‘I’m sure if the shoe was on the other foot Oxford players would have behaved exactly the same.
‘To expect players not to do that is stupid, it’s part of the game.
‘Mowatt shouldn’t have retaliated and I don’t think Karl Robinson can have any complaints (over the red card) when he looks back on it and sees his player raised his hand.
‘You do that and you are asking for trouble and the red card goes up.
‘It can influence decisions and that’s why teams do it. If you can get an extra percentage then you are going to take it – and by getting a man sent off then that’s what it does, you are going to do it.
‘It works both ways, we’ve had players sent off this season such as Nathan at Southend. All the players surrounded the referee then and it’s exactly the same.
‘They probably influenced the referee’s decision on that occasion and you walk away from the pitch and say “That’s the game now”.’
Evans was marking his first match back after retearing a previous hamstring injury.
He entered as substitute in the 51st minute for Connor Ronan – and nine minutes later referee Charles Breakspear awarded a penalty the players are convinced was contentious.
The Surrey official adjudged a tug by Matt Clarke on the U’s Rob Dickie.
Yet while Mowatt missed, Evans was uncertain why it had been awarded in the first place.
He added: ‘It didn’t look like a penalty and then they missed it and he had a moment of madness and got sent off.
‘It was a corner, the ball has gone over my head, I’ve looked round and we’ve cleared it, then the referee pointed to the spot. I thought “What the hell was that for?”.
‘Typical referees these days, you go to speak to them and they won’t be spoken to, I don’t know why.
‘They speak to you before the game and say “If there are any problems come and speak to me”, but when you do you get told where to go.
‘Clarkie is adamant he just stood his ground and that’s it, luckily it didn’t matter as they missed.
‘After that there was only one team that was going to win and the result speaks for itself.’