CHELSEA manager Jose Mourinho felt that Fernando Torres’ harsh dismissal cost his team victory against Tottenham at White Hart Lane.
Scorers: Tottenham Hotspur - Sigurdsson 19; Chelsea - Terry 65
Gylfi Sigurdsson’s first-half opener was cancelled out when John Terry headed in Juan Mata’s free-kick.
But Chelsea were left holding on for a 1-1 draw after Torres received a second yellow card with ten minutes remaining following an innocuous aerial collision with Jan Vertonghen. Asked if the result was fair, Mourinho said: “I don’t think it was. I think they were better in the first half but not much better, they didn’t create so many chances.
“In the second half, there was only one team. The team was very, very strong until the moment the referee made a mistake, a big mistake that had a big influence on the result. The referee is not guilty, the player [Vertonghen] is guilty – he pretended that Fernando had a big contact on him and the referee went on trust.
“At that moment we were much better, they were in big trouble. We were winning everything in midfield and going in waves of attack. It leaves a bad taste because we should win.”
Opposite number Andre Villas-Boas said of Torres’ dismissal: “It was a difficult decision for the referee, both players were going for the ball and he decided Fernando was over the top.”
Christian Eriksen started the move which led to Spurs’ goal, playing a flat ball across the box to Roberto Soldado, who nudged the ball into Sigurdsson’s path.
Sigurdsson, so often Spurs’ unsung hero, still had lots to do. He was off balance after taking an extra stride to beat Terry’s outstretched leg, but he somehow managed to roll the ball into the net to the right of goalkeeper Petr Cech.
Paulinho almost gave Spurs a second when he hit the woodwork just before half-time. That was Mourinho’s cue to leave. He walked down the tunnel a minute before the half-time whistle. He had seen enough. Whatever Mourinho said to his team at the interval, it had an effect.
After a strong start to the half, Juan Mata put a high swirling ball into the box from a free-kick, Vertonghen lost Terry for a second and the Chelsea skipper headed beyond Hugo Lloris.
Reflecting on his team’s performance, Villas-Boas – Mourinho’s former assistant – said: “It was a good game in general and I’m extremely happy with the performance. Our second half wasn’t as good as we wanted and Chelsea did well to score from the set-play. With their pressing we lost fluidity and they did well to come back in the game.”
The fractured relationship between the two Portuguese managers had dominated the build-up to the game but Mourinho said: “Between men – not children – this is not public. It is between us.
“What you want and the people want, we gave, which is a very good football match.”
Villas-Boas and Mourinho shared a handshake at the end while Terry, pictured inset, celebrated in front of his own fans.