Chelsea 2 PSG 2: Graeme Souness blasts 'pathetic' Chelsea for actions in Euro exit

Jamie Carragher also hit out at Blues' 'dirty tricks'

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The Independent Football

Former Liverpool player and manager Graeme Souness labelled Chelsea's approach in their Champions League exit to Paris St Germain as "pathetic".

The Blues crashed out of the competition on away goals after drawing the last-16 second leg match 2-2, meaning PSG progressed with the aggregate finishing 3-3.

Former Liverpool player and manager Souness hailed the effort of the French club, who played for more than an hour with 10 men after Zlatan Ibrahimovic was controversially sent off for a first-half late challenge on Blues midfielder Oscar.

What raised Souness' ire was Chelsea's reaction to the challenge, with several of their players surrounding the referee.

"This PSG team is just full of technique, a really good footballing team and they had to put up with stuff which I find really, really unappealing," Souness said in his role as a pundit on Sky Sports 5.

"The reaction of the Chelsea players on the challenge on Oscar epitomised what I'm saying. To a man they surrounded the referee, (Diego) Costa ran 50 yards to get involved.

"That is something we can do without, that is not the British way of doing things, it's creeping into our game, which is, I find, totally unacceptable.

"When you played, the last thing you wanted to show was that you were injured. Today is the exact opposite of that, someone brushes you, you want to go down and try and get them in trouble. That's how pathetic it is.

"We saw a bit of that in the first half and thank goodness the PSG team stood up to that and they leave here with credit. They're a proper team."


Souness believes it is a problem which runs deep in the British game.

"When I played, when we played, if you got a kick, injured, you didn't want to show the guy who did it to you that it hurt, you stay on your feet. Today it's the exact opposite and that's crept into our game," he said.

"There have been wonderful South American and Latin players come to this country, but they bring with them that tactic.

"I've worked in Latin countries, I've played in one. It was completely foreign to me when I went there in the eighties and witnessed it close up. They thought it was good play if you got someone else in trouble, someone booked."

Chelsea striker Diego Costa came in for particular criticism.

Souness added: "Costa starts off a game with one intention - as much as I like him - 'I am going to intimidate the centre-halves, nudge them, elbow them, set about them physically and just get to the border without getting myself in trouble', hoping they react to that and come after him.

"He's cute and clever, gets himself up in the air for any challenge coming, they get a yellow card and those centre-halves can't come near him after that. That's how it's crept into our game."

Fellow Sky pundit Jamie Carragher concurred with Souness, adding: "The worst bit of dirty tricks was from Chelsea, surrounding the referee, the reaction was disgraceful."

Carragher believes Mourinho's teams are characterised by diving, adding: "It's a recurring theme right throughout his career.

"Jose Mourinho could end up being the most successful manager ever with the trophies he goes on to win in his career but I don't think him and his teams will be ever be loved because of actions like that.

"Does Mourinho care? I don't think he probably cares. I think it's sad."

Arsenal are now the only English club that could progress to the quarter-final although the Gunners will be up against it, having lost their first leg tie 3-1 to Monaco.

It is a poor return for the Premier League, which last month agreed a £5.136billion deal to screen games from the 2016-19 seasons, leaving the global game in its wake.

"We're supposed to be the richest league in the world with some of the best players - we are miles away and we're getting kidded," added Carragher.

Souness found support from former England striker Stan Collymore on Twitter, who wrote: "Souness. Spot f*****g on Sir. Game is full of cheats."