Jose Mourinho blasted referee Martin Atkinson after a series of contentious decisions, including Nemanja Matic’s red card, saw Chelsea held to a shock 1-1 draw against struggling Burnley.
Matic saw red after reacting furiously to a challenge from Ashley Barnes, but Blues boss Mourinho felt the Burnley player should have been sent off for an earlier incident, and that his team should have had at least two penalties at Stamford Bridge.
To add to Mourinho’s angst, Chelsea lost their composure following the midfielder’s 70th-minute dismissal, with Ben Mee heading home an 81st-minute equaliser to cancel out Branislav Ivanovic’s 14th-minute opening goal.
It also ensured that Chelsea’s “Game for Equality”, in which they put forward a strong anti-racism message following Tuesday’s shocking incident on the Paris Metro, which saw a handful of their fans accused of racially abusing a black commuter, ended in more recriminations.
“This game had four crucial moments,” Mourinho said. “Minute 30, minute 33, minute 43, minute 69.”
The Portuguese was referring, in order, to a challenge from Barnes, a handball in the box from Michael Kightly, a shove from Michael Keane on Diego Costa in the area and then Matic’s red card.
“This is the story of the game,” Mourinho said. “You go through these moments and know exactly what happened in this game.
“Minute 69 has a big relation with minute 30 because normally the player, if I can call him a player, was involved in minute 30 and minute 31 should be in the shower.
“No minute 69 if the person in charge does it in a proper way in minute 30.”
Burnley boss Sean Dyche described that challenge as a “coming together”.
Barnes did appear to leave his studs in on Matic, but when it was put to Dyche that Mourinho had said his player should have been sent off for the earlier incident he was involved in, he responded with laughter.
“Involved in what, playing football?” Dyche said. “Have they anything else (to complain about)? Is the grass too short?”
When asked if Chelsea would appeal, Mourinho responded sarcastically.
“Have you ever seen Chelsea win an appeal? I don’t remember,” he said. “I prefer not to comment because if I comment I’m going to use some words.
“A couple of weeks ago when I was here in the press conference after the Liverpool game in the League Cup, I knew already it was going on and on and on, headlines saying ‘Diego (Costa) crimes’. Compare Diego’s ‘crimes’ with what happened today.”
But Dyche was keen to remind Mourinho that it was not just the referee’s decisions that swung the momentum back to Burnley.
“There was more to the game than that, thought we were excellent. I felt we deserved a point,” he said.
That was probably not true on the evidence of the first 69 minutes, as Chelsea were in full control.
It had seemed like they would be in for another easy home win early on, given the nature of the opening goal.
Juan Cuadrado fed Eden Hazard on the right, and the Belgian skipped through the defence before feeding Ivanovic to prod home.
Thereafter, Chelsea had plenty of play, but couldn’t force much beyond the penalty calls.
After the red card, Burnley aggressively pressed and got their reward when Mee headed in a corner.
“We want to attack the game,” Dyche said. “Whatever happens in a season, you don’t want to regret. We’ve had a go in every game bar Arsenal away (a 3-0 defeat in November).”
Burnley could even have won it, only for Danny Ings to blaze over having raced through on goal.
When asked about that, Dyche again laughed and said: “Let’s not get greedy”.
Mourinho wasn’t smiling though.
“Don’t make me laugh because I’m not in a mood to laugh,” he said.
Photo Credits : AFP