Nigel Clough felt David James should have been sent off in Derby's defeat to Bristol City, while Keith Millen backed his goalkeeper.
Former England keeper James was lucky not to be dismissed after bringing down Kris Commons as the Derby midfielder attempted to go past him.
James escaped with a yellow card from referee Darren Sheldrake, and to add to Clough's frustration the shot-stopper comfortably saved Alberto Bueno's free-kick.
City built on the let-off as they went on to win with two second-half goals from striker Brett Pitman, leaving Clough confused and angry.
Angry"You are fined if you don't attend meetings with referees and fined if you criticise them," bemoaned Clough. "I don't see the point of going to meetings because what we are told there doesn't apply.
"Unless the rules have changed, James should have been sent off. We are shown videos of different situations at the meetings with referees and told when a red card will apply.
"If it doesn't when a player has gone around a goalkeeper and is about to sidefoot the ball in, I don't know when it does apply.
"We didn't score the goals our play merited. But that was a huge moment and it's difficult to understand how the official could have got it so wrong.
"We have had big decisions go against us in three games recently and all we want is for the rules to be applied."
Millen, who celebrated his November Championship manager of the month award with a third successive home victory, did his best to stick up for James.
Correct decision"I haven't seen the incident again on film, but I thought we had a couple of defenders getting back to cover and that a yellow card was the correct decision," Millen said.
"I understand how Nigel feels and perhaps we got lucky. But I was delighted with the work rate of my team and once we scored the first goal I thought we went on to win pretty comfortably.
"Derby played a lot of neat football, but mainly in front of us without creating many chances. They did catch us on the break a couple of times, which was a concern, but overall we defended well.
"You tend to get the breaks go your way when you are on a good run and we are starting to show that we have a good squad and the ability to move up the table.
"But we don't look too far ahead. We take games in groups of five and, having reached our target for the last set, will be giving the lads something new to aim at."