Luiz Felipe Scolari yesterday described as "not normal" the decision of the referee Phil Dowd to send off Chelsea's John Terry for what appeared, to most observers, to be a reckless challenge on Leon Osman of Everton on Monday night.
The Chelsea manager refused to speak to the media after Monday's goalless draw at Goodison Park for fear of, according to a Chelsea spokesman, saying something that might have got him into trouble with the authorities. By yesterday Scolari had collected his thoughts but this did not lessen his anger. "At that time I was angry and disappointed with something on the pitch and if I go to say something then maybe I say something wrong," he said. "I needed more time for thinking, because I need to be sure or not sure of this and that.
"But I want to say something. I don't change my opinion about yesterday – for me it is not normal. But he's the referee. In the game, after John Terry had seen the red card, he goes to his friend [Osman] and apologises and goes out normal, as a captain, a very good captain. He accepted the decision of the referee but I don't understand the decision."
Terry will be banned for three matches – Boxing Day's game against West Bromwich Albion, Sunday's away encounter against Fulham and the FA Cup tie at home to Southend United (it could have been worse), and there was also relief yesterday with the Football Association deciding not to pursue any disciplinary action against Alex after the Brazilian was accused of stamping on Tim Cahill.
The referee was asked to review the footage by the FA after he took no action during the game, with Alex appearing to bring his foot down on the midfielder's thigh. However, in a statement the FA said that Dowd had confirmed he had not seen the incident at the time but, having looked at it again, "Dowd informed the FA that he would not have shown Alex a red card. On this basis, the FA will not be taking any disciplinary action."
With the club having, therefore, kept one central defender, there was more good news yesterday for Chelsea with another, Ricardo Carvalho, finally returning to training. The Portuguese international has been sorely missed since limping out of the 3-0 victory over Hull City with a thigh injury at the end of October, which followed a series of other smaller injuries this season.
However, Scolari confirmed Carvalho was now training again. "He trained normally, we will wait a little longer for him to shoot the ball and things like this but I think, after 10 days maximum, he starts to play with no more injury," Scolari said. It means that Carvalho could be pencilled in for a comeback for the Cup tie against Southend on 4 January, with Branislav Ivanovic likely to deputise for Terry until then.
Despite only collecting a point against Everton, and missing out on going back to the top of the table, Scolari professed himself pleased with the display at Goodison Park, the first time Chelsea have failed to win away from home this season in the league. He hailed his players as "fantastic" after performing with 10 men after Terry's 35th-minute dismissal. "The spirit was the spirit I like in my team and yesterday we win one point because they are men, they like Chelsea. The performance was very good."
But Everton were yesterday counting the cost of their hard-earned point with both Osman – following the challenge on him by Terry – and Joseph Yobo added to a lengthy injury list that had already left their manager, David Moyes, without one fit striker.
Red mist descends on title contenders
John Terry – 13 Sept 2008 (v Man City); 23 Dec 2008 (v Everton)
Emmanuel Adebayor – 21 Dec 2008 (v Liverpool)
Cristiano Ronaldo – 30 Nov 2008 (v Man City)
Robin van Persie – 02 Nov 2008 (v Stoke)
Nemanja Vidic – 13 Sept 2008 (v Liverpool)Reuse content