Barcelona hit back at 'pathetic lies' from Mourinho

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The Independent Football

Jose Mourinho was described as "pathetic" by Barcelona last night as Chelsea headed for a serious dispute with Uefa after the governing body of European football rejected their claims that Frank Rijkaard was spotted in referee Anders Frisk's changing-room on Wednesday night.

With Chelsea set to make a formal complaint to Uefa that Rijkaard put pressure on the referee during half-time at the Nou Camp, the Barcelona assistant manager, Henk Ten Cate, said Mourinho's behaviour was unacceptable. Ten Cate said: "Coaches are always moaning to referees about decisions in big matches. It is pathetic to react the way in which he [Mourinho] has. He lied with the line-ups, now this."

It is understood that Chelsea will allege that the Barcelona coach was spotted by some of Mourinho's back-room staff coming out of Frisk's room at the end of half-time in the official complaint they intend to submit to Uefa in the next few days.

However, a Uefa spokesman said it had already received the Swedish official's match report in which he denied anyone had visited his room at the interval. Frisk said his only contact with Rijkaard was a brief conversation as they walked up the tunnel to the changing-rooms. Sources in the tunnel said that when Mourinho emerged from the Chelsea changing-room for the second half he was so incensed by what his staff had told him that he shouted at Rijkaard.

The Chelsea coach was alleged to have shouted at his opposite number that he planned to report him to Uefa.

However, Uefa's spokesman, William Gaillard, said that there was no mention of Rijkaard entering Frisk's room in the referee's report. The Uefa Champions' League rules state that a club official is at liberty to enter the officials' room if he is invited to do so and is not interfering with the referee's job of running the game. Gaillard said: "Even if it is half-time the referee can give a red card to a coach or player. In this case we have received the referee's report and it does not mention anyone entering the referee's room. He was aware of the allegations so he mentioned in his report that no one entered his changing-room.

"He said that Frank Rijkaard talked to him on the way to the changing-room to say that he was sorry that he had not seen him before the game but he had been busy and to say 'Good evening'. That's it. The door to the referee's room was locked and he waited a few seconds for a Barcelona club official to come along to open the door to let him and his assistants inside. That's the end of the report.

"We only heard about Chelsea's complaint from their website. There were two Uefa people around the referee's dressing-room and they didn't see anything."

Those scenes followed a scuffle betweenCate and members of the Chelsea back-room staff as the players walked back up the tunnel to their respective dressing-rooms. Chelsea released a statement yesterday in which they claimed that the complaint would not relate to Mourinho allegedly being kicked on the backside by Cate.

Rijkaard said that the allegations about his contact with Frisk were "ridiculous" and Chelsea will face a fine from Uefa for failing to make their manager or players available for post-match press conferences.

Although the punishment is unlikely to trouble Chelsea's billionaire owner, Roman Abramovich, the dispute could damagetheir ambitions to join the G-14 group of Europe's richest clubs. Joining G-14 relies on all 18 clubs agreeing to admit a new member. It seems unlikely Chelsea will be able to count on the support of Barcelona.