Terry driven mad by 'really bad' European referees

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The Independent Online

What was on John Terry's mind as he drove out of Stamford Bridge after Chelsea's defeat by Internazionale on Tuesday night, accidentally knocking over the club's deputy security manager? Judging by the interview he had just given to Sunday newspaper reporters, it was referee Wolfgang Stark, the subject of a prolonged rant, who was probably lucky not to find himself in the way of Mr and Mrs Terry's 4x4.

A year ago, after going out of the Champions' League semi-final to Andres Iniesta's last-minute goal for Barcelona, Chelsea had legitimate grounds for complaint about Norwegian referee Tom Henning Ovrebo. Though Didier Drogba was the victim of some penalty-area wrestling, the officiating was largely unexceptional this time.

A more calculating figure than Terry might have used criticism of the officials to deflect from his team's inadequate performance, yet he was prepared to accept that they played poorly. He just seemed to believe that Stark – the German word for strong – was worse: "It was a bad performance from us but a really bad performance from the referee. It is not good enough at this stage of the competition. We were at home and we didn't get one decision. We do our best to get ourselves in this position and for two years running we get let down by bad refereeing."

Terry was upset that when he approached the referee as captain, the official ignored him. "How can you have the referee turn his back? That is just pure disrespect," he said. "When decisions are made, the captain is allowed to go to talk to the referee. We go week after week [in England] with great referees and we come into the late stages of the Champions' League and get poor referees. I think we need someone at the club to take it up with Uefa."

A few yards away, Inter's Jose Mourinho was insisting that his former club could still win the Champions' League with the nucleus of the current squad. "This is a great team with great professionals at a great age," he said. "They don't have 36, 37, 38-year-old players. They are at a perfect age, of experience. They can do it, they can do it."

English teams in Europe

Champions' League

Arsenal v Barcelona

Or, football as art, which is how Arsène Wenger has described Barcelona in the past. They have been a thing of beauty against Valencia (3-0) and Stuttgart (4-0) in the last week, and are capable of making even Arsenal look a bit Banksy.

Bayern Munich v Manchester United

A club of Bayern's pedigree tend to be judged more on reputation than form. Although less dysfunctional at present than is often the case, they were fortunate to knock out Fiorentina with a blatantly offside goal and a screamer from Arjen Robben.

Odds (William Hill): 2-1 Barcelona, 3-1 Manchester United, 100-30 Internazionale, 9-1 Arsenal, 12-1 Bayern Munich, 14-1 Lyon, 16-1 Bordeaux, 33-1 CSKA Moscow.

Europa League

Benfica v Liverpool

If they are to progress to the final, favourites Liverpool must take the Iberian route. Rafa Benitez would be fully clued up about meeting either Valencia or Atletico Madrid in the semi-final but is wisely not looking beyond Benfica, the conquerors of Everton.

Fulham v Wolfsburg

Rather less romantic than Roma and Juventus, last season's surprising German champions will test Fulham and the impressive Roy Hodgson. They would have stayed in the Champions' League but for Michael Owen's hat-trick in the final group game.

Odds: 7-2 Liverpool, 4-1 Hamburg, 9-2 Valencia, 11-2 Benfica, 13-2 Wolfsburg, 8-1 Atletico Madrid, 10-1 Fulham, 16-1 Standard Liège.

Steve Tongue

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