Gennaro Gattuso complained that Italian referees were too "touchy" and should adopt the tolerance of Scottish officials after Napoli captain Lorenzo Insigne was sent off in the 1-0 defeat to Inter.
The Napoli boss was fuming that Davide Massa dismissed Insigne for his objections to the awarding of a penalty that Romelu Lukaku converted in Wednesday's Serie A clash.
David Ospina brought down Matteo Darmian, and Insigne was quick to express his dismay at the decision, with Massa equally wasting no time in brandishing the red card.
"Only in Italy do I see referees showing the red for these things," said Gattuso.
"You're not sent off in the same situation in England. I'm not making it up: I played in Scotland in the past and I still follow their football today. The captain of a team there can't be sent off for a 'f*** off' to the referee for a dubious penalty.
"This means that the referee is touchy, and if you are then you can't do this job."
The former Rangers midfielder added: "Anyone who has played football knows there is a lot at stake in a match like Inter-Napoli, and a word can slip out. Only in Italy it [red cards in these situations] happens and it is not right, because games are changed in this way.
"The players have to calm down, but you must also understand that a 'f*** off' after a penalty can happen. In my opinion, a referee must have the intelligence and the tact to understand that.
"If there's a red card for every word too many, then everyone should always be sent off."
Gattuso told Sky Sport Italia that he accepts referees have a "very difficult" job, saying he also had to face swearing from his players in training.
He added: "I'm just saying that, in such an important game, a European referee with experience cannot be touchy."