Jose Mourinho has made a shocking public apology for criticising the referee following Chelsea’s 3-0 victory over Watford.
A 5-3 defeat against Tottenham in the Premier League on New Years Day saw the Portuguese manager refuse to comment on the match officials following the game as he feared punishment, but he made it clear that he felt that his team should have been awarded at least one penalty during the game, if not more.
Following the FA Cup tie against Watford, Mourinho blasted referee Kevin Friend live during his post-match television interview, for what he perceived to be another blatant penalty, when defender Craig Cathcart appeared to stop Diego Costa’s shot with his hand, despite his side adding their second goal moments later through Loic Remy.
However, to the surprise of many, Mourinho offered a rare apology soon after, retracting his statement in front of the press.
As the Blues boss explained, he had spoken to Friend privately and was informed that the official would have given a penalty, had he not seen that Remy was in a goal-scoring position.
Mourinho later explained, “what he did was great refereeing. He saw that it was a penalty and was going to give it but he saw that the ball was going to Remy, and he waited a couple of seconds.
“He said if Remy did not control the ball or fired over the bar, he would have definitely given a penalty. So I have apologised to him personally and I am apologising now.”
The Blues boss has been voicing his disapproval at the way his side has been treated in recent weeks, claiming that there is a ‘campaign’ against them. A run of poor results has seen them throw a seven point lead over title rivals Manchester City, who are now level with Chelsea on points, goal difference and goals scored.
However, despite the constant complaints that Mourinho has been making about decisions going against his side, he was quick to alter his comments, insisting that he did not mean there was a witch-hunt against his side by the match officials.
Steve Atkins, Chelsea’s press officer, was at hand to explain that “Jose is not saying there has been a campaign against them from referees.
“He’s saying that coaches, media and pundits are part of a campaign, over a period of time, talking about Chelsea and incidents, and not talking about incidents and other teams.”
Mourinho’s attempts to exclude match officials from his previous comments may be a result of the fear of punishment. The Chelsea boss has landed himself in hot water for similar comments in the past and will be reluctant to find himself with a match ban looming over him, with Manchester City so hot on his tail.
Chelsea’s 3-0 victory over Watford sends them into the FA Cup fourth round, meaning they are still competing on all four stages. If the Blues go all the way in the prestigious cup competition, it would be the fifth time they have claimed it in the past 10 seasons.