Chelsea pin blame on Robson for bust-up

Blues may face FA charges and fines of up to £250,000
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The Independent Online

Jose Mourinho has refused to back down over his touchline dispute with Bryan Robson and last night sanctioned a spokesman to condemn the West Bromwich Albion manager's conduct on Saturday and blame him for the stand-off between the two clubs' staff.

Mourinho's latest move comes as the club braces itself for three Football Association disciplinary charges after the match at The Hawthorns - two for misconduct and one for unsporting behaviour. The second blow is the news that Arjen Robben's red card, for a foul on Jonathan Greening, will earn him a four-match ban because it is his second of the season.

However, it will be the latest criticism of Robson that raises the temperature as Mourinho's team prepare to face Barcelona in their Champions' League round-of-16 second leg tomorrow. The statement was drawn up according to Mourinho's wishes on the flight to Spain from Gatwick yesterday.

The Chelsea spokesman, Simon Greenberg, said: "We felt that Bryan Robson set the tone for much of this from the first minute. He was insulting our players and our bench from the start. After 57 seconds he went out of the dug-out accusing Damien Duff for diving, and that tone continued."

Robson was incensed at the length of time it took Chelsea to emerge after half-time and went back down the tunnel to find out what was happening. It was here that the exchanges began.

Chelsea players surrounded the referee, Mark Halsey, when Robben was dismissed and when Didier Drogba and Greening clashed - an incident that prompted Robson to accuse Drogba of diving. The champions were warned yesterday they could face an FA fine of up to £250,000 for their behaviour. They face a second misconduct charge for Mourinho's touchline actions and his confrontation with Robson, and may face an unsporting behaviour charge for their players emerging late.

Following the dispute with Barcelona after last season's Champions' League tie, Lars-Christer Olsson, Uefa's chief executive, said he trusts Mourinho to act properly: "Mourinho is mature enough to be careful and proper."

Around 50 Barça fans may disagree. After Chelsea landed in Spain, fans surrounded their coach and spat at a window where Mourinho sat.

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