Chelsea were awarded a last-gasp penalty in their match against West Brom on Saturday, when Ramires went down under a slight nudge from Steven Reid. It took referee Andre Marriner some time to point to the spot, but after he did, Eden Hazard stepped up to convert, earning his side a point in the process.
For those watching at home — except for Blues supporters, of course — it was never a penalty. For West Brom, for Reid, and for Steve Clarke, it most definitely was not a penalty. But for José Mourinho, it absolutely was. The Chelsea boss stated that he watched the replay again and again, and he had “no doubt” that Reid’s challenge on Ramires was a penalty.
Of course Mourinho would stand behind his players and insist that his side had fairly earned a draw. What is more interesting, at least from a psychological standpoint, are the Chelsea boss’s statements about Marriner in general.
At first, it sounds like Mourinho is praising Marriner. After all, he declares that he was right to award the penalty. Mourinho also states that Marriner “is a great referee, one of the best in European football.”
But Mourinho is skilled in the art of wordplay. He’s complimenting Marriner, but that compliment comes right after a barb. Mourinho, in fact, was “very upset” with the work of the referee, declaring that Marriner had a “very unhappy” game. The reason? It seems that Chelsea, in fact, were the ones wronged by the officiating. West Brom’s second goal never should have been allowed. Instead, Chelsea should have had a free kick. The Blues never should have been trailing.
Clearly these words from Mourinho were meant to counteract the knee-jerk reaction from many circles: the feeling that, once again, Chelsea were gifted a goal that they perhaps did not deserve. But, love him or despise him, it’s a wise strategy from the Special One.