Thursday, February 23, 2006

Moaning Mourinho

The BBC have some cheek to put up this article about Jose Mourinho.

The British football establishment have been lambasting Chelsea, and Arjen Robben in particular, for their propensity to dive and roll around on the floor when not hurt. They've been derided as cheats for doing so.

Now, I'm not here to defend Arjen Robben. His dying swan act in the Liverpool game was shameful; no matter how stupid Jose Reina was in his actions, rolling around on the floor to get an opponent sent off is plain wrong (what's been lost in the furore, of course, is that Reina could well have been sent off for the foul which started the melee in the first place).

But if you're going to criticise one team for diving, then you shouldn't be equivocal when another team does it and gains an advantage. Last night, there was no question the sending-off changed the game; being asked to play for 50 minutes with 10 men against any side is hard enough, let alone a team as good as Barcelona. Barcelona were as dominant as they were in the last 20 minutes simply through the advantage of having lost less of their stamina because of their numerical advantage.

And the sending-off was wrong. And it was in part because Lionel Messi was rolling around on the ground in an attempt to show the referee how bad he considered the foul to be.

If it's wrong when Chelsea do it, it's wrong when Barcelona do it.

As for the question "Should the Chelsea boss learn to keep his own counsel when the Blues lose?" then I wonder what the BBC really want. When managers refuse to talk to the press after a match, then the media are up in arms about it. Not unfairly, in my opinion; it is the media interest in football that fuels the high wages on which the managers and players live.

But if you're in the business of asking for an opinion, don't then complain when people actually give you one.