LONDON, January 5 – Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has apologised for criticising referee Kevin Friend in the aftermath of his side’s 3-0 win over Watford in the FA Cup at the weekend.
Mourinho complained in a television interview that his side should have been awarded a penalty in the build-up to their second goal when Craig Cathcart appeared to handle the ball after blocking a shot from Diego Costa.
But Friend subsequently explained to Mourinho that he had played an advantage, which enabled Loic Remy to score moments later, and the Portuguese admitted that his criticism had been misplaced.
“I want to apologise for my earlier comments in some television (interviews). What the referee did was great refereeing,” said Mourinho.
“He saw that it was a penalty, he was going to give a penalty, but he saw the ball was going to Remy. And he waited a couple of seconds.
“He told me that if Remy didn’t control the ball well or the ball goes over the bar or the ball is lost, he would have given the penalty.
“I was complaining, but it was good refereeing by Kevin. I didn’t think it was a penalty — it was a penalty.”
Mourinho complained recently that his players were the victims of a “clear campaign” orchestrated by opposition coaches and the media following a spate of diving accusations.