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Thursday 14 December 2017

Jose Mourinho calls Ashley Barnes' tackle 'criminal'

Chelsea boss lashes Sky Sports and calls for video technology

Jose Mourinho the manager of Chelsea gestures
Jose Mourinho the manager of Chelsea gestures
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has branded Ashley Barnes' tackle on Nemanja Matic "criminal" in a lengthy attack on refereeing standards and media coverage while appearing on Sky Sports.

Matic was sent off for his reaction to Barnes' tackle in the 70th minute, but the Burnley player went unpunished in the 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

Mourinho had little to say in his post-match press conference, simply listing the key moments in the game and adding: "If you look at these moments you know exactly what I think about the game."

But he was much more forthcoming when appearing on Goals on Sunday on Sky Sports - a network he had strongly criticised for their coverage of Diego Costa's stamp on Liverpool's Emre Can last month, when replays of the incident carried the strapline 'Costa's crimes'.

Costa was later handed a retrospective three-match ban.

Taking the opportunity to turn the tables, Mourinho used a question about Barnes' tackle to repeat his complaint.

"When I finished at the game against Liverpool, I went to the dressing room and the first thing I saw on the big screen, reading non-stop - 'Diego Costa crimes'," he said.

"I would like to know how do you, Sky Sports, describe the actions of the Burnley player yesterday? My English is not good enough to find a word.

"When you think 'Diego crimes' after he puts his boot on a hand, when this is 'Diego crimes', the minimum you have to say is 'criminal tackle'.

"Did you apologise to Chelsea, to Diego or myself? You didn't. As an institution, Sky is so important in the Premier League, you never apologise.

"When Diego Costa has a three-match ban, probably three matches to Matic... tell me how many matches this player deserves?"

Mourinho was fined £25,000 by the English Football Association in January for claiming there was a "campaign" in the media against Chelsea, but maintained his attack on coverage.

"I don't like the fact you start immediately, in that moment, the public judgement of the player," he added with regard to the Costa coverage. "You gave no space to the people that have to decide, the pressure was so much.

"You don't do this with every club, with every player. Last year, Yaya Toure against Norwich, you didn't have the same approach; (Robin) van Persie against West Ham, you didn't have the same approach.

"This one (on Saturday) was even worse. This can be end of career. Matic is a very lucky guy."

Mourinho repeated his list of complaints regarding decisions which he believes have gone against his team this season, suggesting Chelsea would be 12 points clear of Manchester City rather than five had officials got their decisions right.

"I'm risking my dugout in the (Capital One Cup) final because maybe tomorrow I get a ban," he said.

"The incidents, I'm speaking about week after week exactly because it's week after week...

"I'm just trying to be honest. If you ask me about the five-points difference I would say that if we are in a normal situation where mistakes which are part of the game are sometimes in our favour, sometimes against us, it wouldn't be five, it would be 12."

SYMPATHETIC

The Portuguese went on to add that he was sympathetic to the difficulties referees face, and suggested that more video technology should be used.

"If the referee cannot see a penalty three metres in front of him, some official in front of a screen cannot miss it," he said.

Meanwhile, Thibaut Courtois is confident Chelsea will overcome the absence of Matic when they face Tottenham in the Capital One Cup final.

"We have a difficult game next week and Matic has been very good for us this season," Courtois said.

"It's a pity he can't play in the final, but of course we have other players who also need to do their job.

"We will still have a strong side, so I don't think it will be a huge problem, although of course Nemanja will be missed."

Matic's dismissal was the turning point of a match Chelsea were controlling, ending a dominant spell as the title favourites poured forward in search of a second after Branislav Ivanovic had fired an early opener.

Ben Mee nodded home the equaliser in the 81st minute, leaving Blues boss Jose Mourinho raging at referee Martin Atkinson over a string of perceived injustices.

Mourinho stopped short of condemning Atkinson outright, but clearly blamed the official for the two dropped points, adding that Chelsea will win the title unless the 'conspiracy' against them succeeds.

Courtois admits Matic's departure shifted the balance of power towards relegation-threatened Burnley.

"It was not our best game of the season. We controlled the game but it was not easy because we knew how Burnley would play with long balls and we handled that quite well. They didn't look dangerous," he said.

"But the sending off changed the game and they became more offensive. We had to play more long balls because with a player less we couldn't pass up the field. It became hard. It's a pity, but that's football and you have to continue."

Burnley boss Sean Dyche sympathises with Atkinson and insists the draw was the fairest outcome.

"If a decision went our way, c'est la vie. Over the season you hope that it balances out. It doesn't always, but that's the hope," Dyche said.

"I think it's getting tougher and tougher for referees because every week you see simulation and all sorts of things. Atkinson refereed how he deemed appropriate.

"The fact is we deserved a good performance away from home against Chelsea and we deserved at least a point. Fortunately that's what we got."

ends

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