Analysis: Why Chelsea are more likely to be awarded penalties after Jose Mourinho's rant over Cesc Fabregas incident

The Blues' manager has seen the desired effect of his post-match rant

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The Independent Online

‘Chelsea victims of vendetta’, ‘Mourinho rages at campaign’, ‘scandal’, ‘conspiracy’. Jose Mourinho, as he surveyed the back pages this morning, must have thought: ‘Mission accomplished’. The next time a Chelsea player goes over in the box, and the referee is unsure, he will not be reaching for his yellow card. Instead he may well, in those borderline decisions, point to the spot.

Referees are not cheats, but they are human. Few welcome being at the centre of attention and giving a decision against a big team invites the spotlight. It is one of the two main reasons big teams tend to get more penalty decisions - the other being that they are more likely to be fouled in the box as in most matches they have more possession and better attacking players.

In the wake of Mourinho’s comments after Cesc Fabregas was booked for simulation at Southampton that focus will be all the brighter. Subconsciously, rather than deliberately, officials are now likely to err in Chelsea’s favour for a few weeks.

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Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho at Southampton

 

Complicit in all this is the media. If Mourinho’s comments had been dismissed as another attempt, by a master of the art, to influence the public debate they would not be as effective. But Mourinho’s status means few media outlets dare ignore them. Were it a lower-profile boss, such as Gary Monk or Nigel Pearson, such comments would have been tucked on the inside pages, or relegated to item five on the news ticker. Mourinho, through his success, has earned himself a platform. And boy, does he know how to use it.

 

Of course, if his players had less keen to dive in the past Mourinho would not have needed to mount his soapbox as referee Anthony Taylor would have been more likely to judge Matt Targett’s challenge on Fabregas incident on its merits, rather than in the context of recent history. In that respect what Mourinho has done is redress an imbalance caused by his own players’ attempts to cheat. Arguing, as he did yesterday, that those incidents were less relevant as his team were already winning at the time is fatuous, and not just because goals and red cards change matches. It does, though, underline how misguided Gary Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic, to quote the most notorious examples, were. Fabregas should have been blaming them, as much as Taylor, for his yellow card.

Maybe Chelsea’s players will keep their feet better in future because one thing is certain, if the league leaders now win a penalty through an act of simulation the debate will turn against them again.

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