Jose Mourinho launched a verbal barrage on referee Anthony Taylor and claimed there is a "campaign" to portray his Chelsea side as divers after their 1-1 draw with Southampton at St Mary's.
Cesc Fabregas became the third Blues player to be booked for simulation this season after Taylor deemed Fabregas to have taken a dive under pressure from Matt Targett despite appearing to be tripped by the young left-back, which the Chelsea boss described as a "scandal".
“In other countries where I worked, tomorrow in the sports papers it would be front-page scandal because it is a scandal,” the Portuguese said. “I think it is a scandal because it is not a small penalty – it is a penalty like Big Ben. In this country – and I am happy with that, more than happy with that – we will just say that it was a big mistake with a big influence in the result. I will go to the referee and wish him a good year and tell him he will be ashamed.”
Chelsea's record of four yellow cards for simulation is more than any Premier League club this season, however the former Real Madrid coach believes that his players are suffering the consequences of criticism from outside the club, highlighting Diego Costa’s booking for a dive against Burnley on his debut as an example.
“I think it is clearly the result of something that looks like a campaign,” Mourinho said. “In the first match, Diego got a yellow card when it should have been a penalty and a red card at Burnley. A few months later, we lose two points in a match where the penalty is there and Fàbregas gets a yellow card.
The league leaders were subject to criticism from Hull City manager Steve Bruce, who likened Gary Cahill to "something out of Swan Lake" when the centre back was accused of diving in Chelsea’s win over the Tigers a fortnight ago, a game in which Costa and Willian were booked for simulation, while West Ham manager Sam Allardyce was equally critical of Branislav Ivanovic after his tumble against the Hammers on Boxing Day, however Mourinho has questioned the scrutiny his side has received compared to their Premier League rivals.
“Against West Ham, [Enner] Valencia made a very bad dive at the end of the game and Sam is talking about Ivanovic. What is this? What? Why? Which intention? And today you come here, crucial decision. One of these matches between two good teams, difficult match, crucial decisions and the ref makes a wrong decision.”
“In the last couple of weeks, do you want me to tell you the two most important things that happened in my matches? Filipe Luís and Eden Hazard could have broken legs.
“They could be in hospital now with broken legs and you are speaking now about Gary Cahill against Hull City when the result was 2-0 and you are speaking about West Ham when the result was 2-0 and should be 5-0.
“But you also forget other things. Man City v Crystal Palace, a goal is not offside, you don’t speak a lot about it. Man United v Newcastle, 0-0, penalty and a red card for Mata – no penalty. So you don’t speak about other things.”