Jose Mourinho delivered a withering assessment of Antonio Rudiger’s role in Son Heung-min’s red card during Tottenham’s defeat to Chelsea, sarcastically suggesting the Blues defender must have suffered “broken ribs” in the incident.
Spurs head coach Mourinho insisted Son should not have been sent off, despite the South Korea forward kicking out at Rudiger after being fouled by the Germany international.
The Portuguese also felt the second-half flashpoint should not have been subject to a VAR check and questioned Rudiger’s response to being kicked, with the centre-back falling down clutching his stomach.
“Rudiger for sure is having scans in the hospital on broken ribs, because it was really a violent situation,” said Mourinho, whose side lost 2-0 following two first-half Willian goals, including a penalty that was given after another VAR review.
“In some countries like mine for example with our culture we used to say ‘clever player’.
“But in this country, and one of the reasons why I fell in love with this country in 2004, is because we don’t call them clever. We call them other things, that I refuse to call him.
“For me it is not a red card. I think if we go to every person in this room, some will say yes, and some will say no.
“And that’s not the essence of the VAR, the initial protocol of VAR. VAR is for the penalty of the first half, a clear and obvious mistake; 65,000 people in the stadium looked to the screen and they knew it was a penalty. For me that’s VAR.
“When you have that situation with Son and Rudiger, it’s not a clear and obvious mistake by the referee. I think the mistake of the referee is not to give a yellow card to Rudiger. Because the way he fouls Son, that is the clear mistake.
“But then VAR goes to the Son situation, which I believe is not.
“In some opinion people will say yes, but that’s not for VAR. So for me it’s really, really bad, and basically kills the game. It’s the slow motion, it’s the angles, everything.”
Mourinho risked further wrath from his former club when claiming Chelsea manager Frank Lampard borrowed ex-Blues boss Antonio Conte’s favoured 3-4-3 formation, with Marcos Alonso recalled for the first time since November 5.
Chelsea ended a run of one win in five league matches with the victory, but Mourinho remained unimpressed.
“They played in the system they are very comfortable with, a system they played for two years under Antonio Conte,” he said.
“So they had the game in our half in spite of them not creating a lot
“In the end, they were superior. But then you look to the goals, and the goals are not a consequence of any superiority.
“The goals are from a short corner with a big mistake, and we know how to defend short corners. And then we conceded a penalty. So the goals came from mistakes.”
Lampard visibly baulked at Mourinho’s suggestion he copied Conte’s system, but maintained he still holds the greatest respect for his ex-Stamford Bridge manager.
Asked if he had borrowed Conte’s old blueprint, Lampard said: “No, that didn’t factor at all.
“I’m not trying to clone anyone’s system. In fact the Conte system that won the league at Chelsea was an incredible system.
“But the way I play, the message that I give is different.
“It’s not so simple that if you play 3-4-3 you’re cloning someone else, otherwise everyone would be cloning everyone else.”
Asked if he is still friends with Mourinho after Sunday’s fraught encounter, Lampard added: “Yes. To go up against a manger who I respect so much from playing days and what he’s done in the game, and win, that feels good.
“He spoke beforehand that he really loves me but wants to win and beat me
“That’s how we both went into this game, and that should never change.”