Authorities spare Mourinho over rant at linesman

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The Independent Online

The tape of an interview that Mourinho gave to Sky television at Goodison Park on Sunday was watched by the FA's compliance unit at Soho Square yesterday and although it did not feel he had a case to answer there is a feeling that his comments were provocative. Mourinho was enraged by the referee Mark Clattenberg's decision in the 63rd minute to rule out his side's goal for offside.

While replays revealed that Drogba just stayed on-side when he received a short pass from Frank Lampard, Eidur Gudjohnsen had strayed offside, although Mourinho's argument was that his Icelandic striker was not interfering with play. "Maybe the linesman needs glasses?" he said on Sunday. "I don't even want to watch a television replay. I know it was a goal - I have no doubt."

While the mocking of a match official is normally treated severely by the football authorities - as witnessed by the recent red cards for Wayne Rooney and David Beckham for sarcastic applause of a referee - Mourinho has been spared a disciplinary charge this time. It was also suggested by Everton striker James Beattie that Chelsea were given a hand in the build-up to their equaliser on 50 minutes by Clattenberg who stood in the way of Claude Makelele, which meant that the ball fell to goalscorer Frank Lampard.

"If the ref hadn't got in the way of Makelele, he'd have got the ball and not Frank Lampard, so it might even have stayed 1-0." Beattie said.

The Everton forward said that the draw, which ended Chelsea's run of nine victories from the start of the season, showed that there was a way to match the Premiership champions, who had scored 13 goals in their previous three matches.

Beattie said: "You have to tear at them. If you sit back off them, they're so quick on the break and have so many ways of scoring that it's frightening. I know we did that a bit in the second half when we were under pressure, but you can't back off them from the start."

Lampard was in no doubt that Drogba's goal should have stood, arguing, in defence of Gudjohnsen's positioning, that "[Ruud] Van Nistelrooy takes up offside positions all the time and other players run through and score". He added: "Often he ends up scoring the final goal. The rules are quite clear. Eidur had nothing to do with the play and Didi was onside.

"Obviously we wanted to win yesterday and keep winning runs going, but as professionals we know it's not going to go on forever. We don't expect to win every week. We try our hardest to do that, but it's not a bad thing we drew. It's all about that winning run ending and another one starting."

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