Aston Villa were victims of football's rules in the lead up to Bernardo Silva's goal for Manchester City on Wednesday, says former Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher.
Villa were beaten 2-0 in the league match at City, with Silva opening the scoring after 79 minutes.
The visitors complained that the first goal should not have stood, however, as City midfielder Rodri came from an offside position to steal the ball from centre-back Tyrone Mings after a header from Silva.
Rodri then returned the ball to the Portugal international, who went on to fire past Emiliano Martinez.
Villa boss Dean Smith's protests to officials led to his dismissal and Ilkay Gundogan went on to convert a penalty to seal the three points just before the final whistle.
But Gallagher, who spent 15 years as a referee in the Premier League until 2007, says Villa's frustration should be directed at the International Football Association Board (IFAB).
"I think this is a case of Aston Villa being a victim of IFAB rather than the referee or the VAR," he told Premier League Productions.
"You see Rodri in an offside position, clearly – being in an offside position isn't an offence – but once Mings starts to take control of the ball, he's judged to have taken ownership of that situation and therefore, once the ball has been chested by Mings, Rodri can challenge him.
"That's how the law is set up. It seems very unpalatable to everybody. Unfortunately, as that is how the law is set up, that's how it is.
"The amazing thing is that even [Rodri] stopped for a second so he may have thought [he was offside].
"The victim here is Aston Villa due to IFAB."
The result leaves Villa without a win in their last three top-flight matches. They sit 11th in the table with 26 points from 16 games.
Smith's team are in action again on Saturday when they host Newcastle, with a trip to Burnley to follow four days later.
City, who are on a nine-game winning run and have not been beaten since November, have an FA Cup date with Cheltenham this weekend.