Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has suggested that only bad decisions made by referees can prevent his side from winning the English Premier League title this season. The Portuguese boss – an outcome Mourinho says arose because of four calls by match official Martin Atkinson.
“I’m happy that I’m not stupid and I understood everything a couple of months ago,” he said.
“If you tell me this story that started a couple of months ago finished today and now we have 12 matches to play with an advantage of five points, I tell you [we will be] champions. But I don’t know if that story ends here or if you have more waiting for us.”
The Blues were 1-0 up in their league clash with Sean Dyche’s relegation-threatened team before Matic was sent off in the 69th minute for shoving Ashley Barnes after an ugly challenge by the Clarets forward.
Ben Mee equalised eleven minutes later, and Mourinho said the match would not have been drawn if the referee had not turned down two penalty appeals and had punished Barnes for two tackles that Mourinho suggested were worthy of red cards.
After saying he did not wish to speak at length about the decisions, Mourinho said: “I prefer just to say that this game had four crucial moments: minutes 30, 33, 43 and 69. This is story of the game. I cannot comment because it is difficult for me not to say the truth.”
That referred, respectively, to a tackle by Barnes on Brasinlav Ivanovic that drew no reaction from the referee; Michael Kightly blocking an Ivanovic shot with his arm in the box, which the referee apparently did not consider deliberate handball; Diego Costa falling in the box under pressure from Jason Shackell; and Barnes catching Matic halfway up the Serb’s shin and provoking the retaliation that led to the Chelsea’s player’s dismissal.
The Stamford Bridge boss did not defend Matic’s reaction but suggested that Barnes should not have been on the pitch to make the tackle, and also invited comparisons between Barnes’s tackle and the clash between Diego Costa and Liverpool’s Emre Can last month that led to the Chelsea striker being suspended.
“Minute 69 [Matic’s shove on Barnes] has a big relation with minute 30,” he continued.
“The player, if I can call him a player, who was involved in minute 30, normally in minute 31 he should be in the shower. No minute 69 if the person in charge does the things in the proper way in minute 30.”
“A couple of weeks ago when I was here after the Liverpool game, I knew already that the ‘Diego crimes’ were going to be on and on and on. Compare ‘Diego’s crimes’ with what happened today.”
Mourinho scoffed at the idea of Chelsea appealing against Matic’s dismissal, and said: “Have you ever seen Chelsea win an appeal?”
Burnley manager Sean Dyche said he was “absolutely flummoxed” by Mourinho’s suggestion that decisions had more to do with the result than Burnley’s performance but said he would study all four incidents.
He said: “We’ve had decisions go against us this season. If some went for us today, c’est la vie.”