Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Goal-Row Linesman Back to Haunt Jose

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Goal-Row Linesman Back to Haunt Jose

Article excerpt


THE people at UEFA must have a wicked sense of humour where Jose Mourinho is concerned. After seeing the Portuguese at the centre of an intense debate about Premiership officials, they have decided to reunite him with one who wrecked his European dreams and left his players in tears.

Slovakian surgeon Roman Slysko will run the line for Chelsea's Champions League game at Werder Bremen tonight, two seasons after giving the goal which knocked them out of the competition's semi-finals at Liverpool.

Mourinho still disputes Slysko's decision to rule Luis Garcia's effort over the line and the referee's assistant claimed only last season UEFA wanted to keep them apart to avoid more controversy. However, the European game's governing body might just get away with it now.

Chelsea tonight need only a point to win Group A and their head coach's pre-match focus on officials has been largely kept on the Premier League.

After the storm Chelsea created over Graham Poll's performance in their defeat at Tottenham 17 days ago.

Howard Webb has been appointed for their showdown at Manchester United on Sunday.

Mourinho said: "Webb looks a very solid referee. Everyone makes mistakes, but the big ones which decide games he seems to get right and so I am very comfortable to have him."

Sir Alex Ferguson questioned why Premier League referees' chief Keith Hackett has agreed to meet Mourinho to discuss his concerns, hinting at undue influence. But UEFA's decision to appoint Slysko along with his refereeing compatriot Lubos Michel shows they have not bowed to any pressure.

Mourinho said: "I don't choose referees. I always wish them well before the game and I always trust them.

"Sometimes I don't feel the same after the game, but that is normal. I have great memories of Lubos Michel and sad ones. Great when I won the UEFA Cup with Porto and sad when he was in charge of the Champions League semi-finalwe lost at Liverpool - but he was not the linesman he was the referee."

Mourinho has been keen to stress how seriously he is taking tonight's match, making only three changes to the strong side who beat West Ham last weekend, and two are forced. …

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