independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

Mou: Diving Suarez showed wild side

Luis Suarez, right, was criticised by Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho

Jose Mourinho criticised Liverpool striker Luis Suarez for "doing an acrobatic swimming pool jump" and showing his "wild nature" in trying to win a penalty in Chelsea's 2-1 Barclays Premier League win at Stamford Bridge.

In Suarez's first match against Chelsea since April's infamous bite on Branislav Ivanovic earned him a 10-match ban, Mourinho's side deprived the prolific striker of scoring opportunities and took full advantage to win 2-1 and move two points behind leaders Arsenal.

A frustrated Suarez felt he had been fouled by Samuel Eto'o in the penalty box, but Mourinho disagreed, making a diving gesture and insisting simulation must be outlawed from the British game.

Mourinho said: "Suarez lost a duel with (Cesar) Azpilicueta, Azpilicueta has the ball and is leaving the box with the ball and now he's doing an acrobatic swimming pool jump to try to get the penalty, because he's so clever because he's in the area where the Liverpool supporters behind.

"But (referee Howard) Webb is 10 metres away. And I think the only mistake Webb did was not to give him a yellow card."

Television pundits insisted it was a spot-kick and Mourinho suggested there was a dearth of analysts with a Chelsea connection and joked that he would take a role in broadcasting following his management career.

When pressed, Mourinho admitted there may have been contact between Eto'o and Suarez, "when the ball is 10 metres away with Azpilicueta", even though he had earlier earlier stated that Suarez went down "like somebody shot him".

Suarez was praised by Mourinho in the build up, but was unable to score his 20th Premier League goal of the season on his 14th appearance as Martin Skrtel's fourth-minute goal was cancelled out by a brilliant Eden Hazard strike and Eto'o poked in a first-half winner.

But Mourinho wants the Uruguayan to end his penchant for going to ground.

"The player is amazing," the Portuguese added.

"He does everything to win and Brendan (Rodgers, the Liverpool manager) is doing a fantastic job on him because he's changed. There's no doubt that he's changed.

"But when the situation is like this and you are losing comes the nature of the player, the wild nature of the player or the cultural nature of the player.

"Culturally people from that area (South America), they like it. It's not (just) that area. There's a corner in Europe where I belong to, that they also like (diving)."

In responding to Mourinho, Liverpool boss Rodgers pointed out Eto'o was fortunate to still be on the pitch after catching Jordan Henderson with a poor challenge which led to Skrtel's early goal.

"He (Eto'o) should've been sent off," Rodgers said.

"I know we scored from it, but that was a wild challenge, where he's raked down his knee and down his shin and didn't even get a yellow card.

"Luis will always provoke a challenge from defenders, that's why he's world class.

"What he probably doesn't expect is to provoke a challenge from someone who's not involved in the contact.

"He's running to challenge Azpilicueta and Eto'o is street wise, he's cute, he blocks him. On another day you could give that as a penalty, because it's obstruction in the area.

"Of course, he (Mourinho) will defend his player and I will defend mine."

Unlike following the loss to Manchester City, Rodgers had no complaints with Webb's refereeing.

Rodgers said: "He's a top referee, Howard. I'll stay calm today."

Chelsea have tended to rise to the occasion against bigger teams this season and did so once more to extend Mourinho's unbeaten Premier League record at home to 70 matches.

The Portuguese set up his side to starve Suarez of opportunities and it worked.

"The team did a very good job collectively," Mourinho said.

The Portuguese felt only one incident was worthy of a penalty in the game, when Hazard was tackled by Lucas Leiva in the first half.

Hazard has now netted eight Premier League goals this season.

Mourinho said: "The kid is giving everything. He was a very talented player, but he was a kid enjoying football in a funny way. Now he understands his responsibilities. I'm so happy with the kid."

Injuries to Ivanovic and Frank Lampard did little to sour Mourinho's mood, although both will miss Wednesday's match with Southampton and could face lengthier absences.

Mourinho maintains Manchester City are the team to beat in the Premier League title race, but is pleased with his side's position in the standings after a key win.

"I think we deserved to win," Mourinho said.

Liverpool are six points behind Arsenal in fifth place despite being top of the league two games ago, but Rodgers believes his side can still challenge.

"I think it's open," said the Reds boss.

"Christmas Day eating our turkey we were top of the league. A few days and games later we're fifth. I think that's the way it will go between now and the end of the season.

"I think it's brilliant and it makes it really exciting."

Rodgers could be active when the transfer window opens on Wednesday, when his side play Hull.

He added: "We've shown in the first 19 games this season that if we get players back, get some help in January with a few more players, we can be in the shake-up here.

"Liverpool was never in the conversation for the last few years. At least now we're being recognised in terms of what we're trying to do and our work.

"Hopefully we can add to it and get some depth to the group, because that is something that really helps you in the second part of the season."

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