OPINION: Don’t let Barnes fall victim to kangaroo court

Burnley's Ashley Barnes battles for possession with Chelsea's Nemanja Matic ''Photographer Craig Mercer/CameraSport''Football
Burnley's Ashley Barnes battles for possession with Chelsea's Nemanja Matic ''Photographer Craig Mercer/CameraSport''Football

Jose Mourinho talks of a conspiracy against his Chelsea players.

But the way he has manipulated the national media since 5 p.m. on Saturday has been nothing short of a witchhunt against Ashley Barnes.

From his carefully signposted comments after the game, pointing out “minute 30, minute 33, minute 43 and minute 69”, to Chelsea requesting he appear on Goals on Sunday, shunting James Beattie off the couch, and the homework he did overnight to find out Barnes’ “previous”.

And if Barnes is retrospectively punished, Mourinho’s Jedi mind tricks will have worked.

What he didn’t tell the national media - who haven’t even looked - was that Diego Costa, who had just returned from a three-match ban for stamping on Liverpool’s Emre Can, showed his dark side again in the last minute, kicking out at Jason Shackell.

A clear red card offence if ever I’ve seen one.

Barnes, like Costa, plays on the edge - an aggressive, old fashioned forward - indeed, back at Christmas 2011, he was dismissed against Burnley for Brighton for a poor challenge on Chris McCann.

But if Burnley lose him from a large chunk of their remaining games,it will be courtesy of a kangaroo court.