Nemanja Matic had every right to react angrily to a “criminal” challenge which could have ended his career during Chelsea’s shock 1-1 draw against relegation-threatened Burnley, his manager Jose Mourinho said on Sunday.
Matic received a straight red card in the 70th minute after he reacted aggressively to a heavy tackle from Ashley Barnes while the Burnley forward went unpunished for the challenge which caught the Serbian midfielder high on his leg.
“Football is about emotions and clearly Nemanja Matic had a reason to lose his emotions,” Mourinho told Sky Sports.
“What are the consequences of his push? Nothing. The consequence for Matic from the tackle? It could be the end of his career. A criminal tackle.”
Mourinho accused Sky Sports of partiality, referring to when the broadcaster played a series of clips of controversial incidents involving Chelsea forward Diego Costa alongside the caption ‘Costa Crimes’.
“If you call Diego Costa’s actions against Liverpool (when he received a three-game ban for a stamp on Emre Can) a crime, the minimum you have to say is this (Barnes’ challenge) is a criminal tackle.
“As an institution Sky did not apologise to Chelsea, to Costa, or to me.
“Diego Costa has a three-match ban. Matic will probably get three. You tell me how many games you think they deserve?”
Mourinho highlighted four incidents which he believed shaped the outcome of the match against Burnley.
The Portuguese manager believes Barnes should have been dismissed for a knee on Branislav Ivanovic in the 31st minute and said Chelsea should have been awarded penalties in the 34th and 44th minutes.
The last incident was the Barnes challenge on Matic and Mourinho questioned the performance of referee Martin Atkinson.
“The best players in the world make mistakes. This gentleman (Martin Atkinson) is one of the top referees in European football, he can also make mistakes.
“He clearly made four important mistakes yesterday. He is like the lawyer who is consistent because he lost 15 of 15 cases. You don’t want that lawyer.”