English football’s reputation damaged by Nemanja Matic ban, says Mourinho
Chelsea manager claims game is losing credibility over not punishing Ashley Barnes
Chelsea midfielder Nemanja Matic’s suspension has been reduced from three matches to two but he still misses the League Cup final. Photograph: Nick Potts/PA Wire.
José Mourinho fears English football is in danger of losing its credibility with “people all around the world” perplexed as to how Nemanja Matic will miss tomorrow’s League Cup final through suspension while Ashley Barnes will be available for Burnley’s game against Swansea today.
The Chelsea manager, whose team attempt to win the first trophy of his second spell in charge against Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley, remains incensed to have lost the Serbian for two games after the midfielder pushed Barnes to the turf following the forward’s ill-timed tackle in last Saturday’s draw at Stamford Bridge.
Mourinho claimed the English Football Association’s decision not to sanction the Burnley player while Matic sits out a ban, albeit reduced from three games, will damage the English game’s reputation around the world.
“I have worked in so many different countries and I know what the Premier League – what English football – means in every country,” he said.
“The dimension of the Premier League: not just the audiences and the millions of people who watch, but the feeling and envy they have for English football . . . the respect and credibility.
“For example, in a very important newspaper in my country, after the Burnley game the headline was: ‘We thought this was only possible in Portugal, never in England,’” Mourinho claimed.
“The depth of this message, you understand? This is something English football cannot lose. The credibility in which English football is held has taken a long time to build and will take a long time to lose.
“But, step by step, people are affected. These words were not just in Portugal. They were everywhere.
“We must take care of our football. I’m not English but I have worked here a long time and I have to believe it belongs to me.”
“I don’t think you can have any doubt that all around the world people open their mouths with surprise at how this can be possible.”
Chelsea had launched an appeal against Matic’s initial three-match ban for violent conduct on the basis of excessive punishment in the hope the suspension would be reduced to one game, only for an independent regulatory commission to reduce the ban to two matches.
The club subsequently released a statement confirming they were “appalled” at that decision and suggesting more must be done to protect players. Guardian Service