Clarets boss speaks out on Chelsea match witch-hunt

Burnley manager Sean Dyche shouts instructions to his team from the dug-out ''Photographer Craig Mercer/CameraSport''Football
Burnley manager Sean Dyche shouts instructions to his team from the dug-out ''Photographer Craig Mercer/CameraSport''Football

Clarets boss Sean Dyche has leapt to the defence of striker Ashley Barnes after the witchhunt following the incident with Chelsea’s Nemanja Matic.

And he also wonders why nothing has been made of Diego Costa’s kick out at skipper Jason Shackell in comparison - as well as Chelsea’s unsporting refusal to give the ball back after Ben Mee received treatment.

Barnes, after trying to play a pass back to David Jones at Stamford Bridge, was challenged by Matic, and caught the Serbian with his follow-through.

Matic reacted angrily and shoved Barnes to the ground, receiving a red card.

Barnes went unpunished, which infuriated Blues boss Jose Mourinho, and subsequently no retrospective action was taken either.

Dyche said on the incident: “No one reacts. Live time, no one reacts apart from Matic. My point is about live time - live speed. The referee has a chance. No one reacts.

“When the camera pans back to Jose Mourinho and his assistant, they’re calmly talking about what they should do.

“After the event, with hindsight and camera views and slow-motion, now it’s been called a criminal tackle and the like. I find that hard to adjust to when live at that moment, 15,000 people and expert staff and most of the players on the football pitch - it’s rare there’s not a reaction in the stadium.

“I don’t know the biomechanics. I’m not an expert. But I’d say that once you’re in that pendulum motion of playing a pass, it’s very difficult to stop your leg going through the ball and rising.

“We all know it doesn’t look a pleasant challenge but, at live speed, these are expert people who’ve been in the game a long time who don’t even flinch at that moment. It’s a real tough one.

“I find it hard that the manager is using very strong phrases about that moment when he didn’t have any reaction at all at the live moment. I find that one hard to accept. Things often look different afterwards with all the technology you’ve got.”

Mourinho was also upset, to put it mildly, about two first half penalty claims which were waved away, for handball against Michael Kightly, and then a nudge from Shackell on Costa.

Dyche accepts either could have been given: “Jason Shackell definitely gets a mild hand on him,” said Dyche. “Is that enough for him to go down? It’s a real debating point.

“That’s a close one. The first one usually gets given but that one is a real tough one for referees.

“He (Costa) is off balance anyway, he gets a slight nudge and he goes down.

“I’m not remotely saying he went down easily or is trying to simulate. I just mean it’s a mild contact, which inevitably means he ends up on the floor.

“I think that’s a tough one, particularly when you consider the referee’s actual angle to see that incident.”

To add to the charge list, Mourinho also stated Barnes should have been dismissed for a first half challenge from Barnes on Branislav Ivanovic.

Dyche countered: “He bundles into the player, it’s fair to say, but I can’t imagine that to be deemed anything more than, at most, a yellow card.”

Late in the game, Costa kicked out at Shackell in his first league game back from a ban for stamping on Liverpool’s Emre Can.

Dyche noted: ”It is a strange situation and we can only look at an oversight on Jose and his team’s part.

“Just before the incident Ben Mee goes up for a header and goes over the top of someone and lands heavily on his ribs.

“He tries to get on with it, the ball then goes over the top and Jason Shackell is guiding it to Tom Heaton. Ben Mee and him are doing what defenders do, trying to guide it back to the keeper.

“There is then quite obvious contact made by Costa on the back of Jason Shackell’s legs.

“We have to make sure there is balance to this situation.”

Heaton then plays the ball out for Mee to receive treatment, and Chelsea, going against the unwritten code of football, refused to give the ball back: “Our keeper, because Ben Mee goes down, rolls the ball out of play to allow our physio to come on and administer treatment to our player.

“Usually that ball comes back into the goalkeeper and then play resumes.

“On this occasion - it must have been an oversight and I can only put it down to that - Chelsea played on, threw it in and tried to attack us to try to obviously score a goal.

“I will accept it if it is an oversight but I think the protocol suggests that that is not the correct fashion because usually that then gets thrown back to the keeper.

“We’ll have to view those two things as an oversight on Chelsea’s part that these things didn’t come to light, but to bring balance to the whole feel of the game I think they have to be recognised.

“Beyond that we must remember, madly - it seems a shame we have to talk about this - it was a fine game of football between two teams working very hard for different reasons to win a football match.

“It’s a shame that these things have all got in the way of that.”