Steve Clarke: Ramires conned penalty out of referee
West Bromwich Albion manager says Chelsea midfielder Ramires "was already on the way down before anyone was near him" before earning controversial penalty
Chelsea midfielder Ramires was on Saturday night at the centre of a fresh storm over apparent diving after earning the 95th-minute penalty that preserved Jose Mourinho’s record of never losing a Premier League match at home.
It came as Mourinho confirmed he had dropped England left-back Ashley Cole, who had also been omitted for the midweek Champions League match against Schalke, because he was unhappy with the defender’s form.
“I didn’t like his performance against Newcastle,” Mourinho said of Cole. Chelsea lost last weekend to Newcastle and should have lost on Saturday but for the penalty from Eden Hazard – recalled after also being dropped midweek, this time for losing his passport – that gained a 2-2 draw.
West Brom were furious with the penalty decision with the heated protests, led by captain Chris Brunt, who was booked, continuing down the tunnel after the match.
Referee Andre Marriner awarded the contentious spot kick when Ramires was challenged by Steven Reid with West Brom head coach Steve Clarke choosing his words carefully – even though his intent was clear.
“A bad decision has cost us two points,” he said. “I’m flabbergasted at the decision, I can’t believe he gave it, but I can’t change it. I’ve been in the game a long time and I knew he [Ramires] was already on the way down before anyone was near him. The referee has to be 100 per cent sure. How he can be 100 per cent sure is beyond me. It was not the correct decision.”
Asked whether he believed it was a dive, Clarke said: “You can put a label on it if you want, but the onus is on the referee to make the right decision. He didn’t.”
West Brom players also vented their frustration with the injured goalkeeper Ben Foster tweeting after the final whistle “load of s---” in the kind of outburst that might attract interest from the Football Association. Reid also tweeted, referring sarcastically to “little old West Brom”, clearly feeling a bigger club had benefited from the referee.
Mourinho insisted the penalty had been correctly awarded and accused West Brom of profiting from poor decisions from Marriner.