Chelsea boss Mourinho apologises for referee criticism

The Portuguese made a public apology to Kevin Friend after initially attacking the official for not awarding the Blues a penalty during their 3-0 FA Cup home victory over Watford
By Greg Stobart at Stamford Bridge

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho made a rare apology to an official when he retracted his criticism of referee Kevin Friend following the 3-0 FA Cup third-round victory against Watford.

Mourinho attacked Friend in his initial post-match television interviews for not awarding a penalty when Craig Cathcart handled Diego Costa's shot in the penalty area, with Loic Remy turning in the rebound for Chelsea's second goal of the match.

Mourinho has complained of a "campaign" against the Blues in recent weeks but wanted to make it clear that he was sorry for criticising Friend following a conversation with the official.

"Today we had a big penalty and i want to apologise for complaining on the television," Mourinho told reporters.

"The referee told me that if Remy doesn’t control well the ball or it’s lost, it would have been a penalty. I was complaining but it’s good refereeing and I want to apologise."

Mourinho admitted he was worried by his side’s first-half display against Watford but the game turned around after Costa and Willian were introduced at half-time in place of Andre Schurrle and Oscar.

Willian scored the opener with a fine strike from 25 yards before Remy's powerful finish, with youngster Kurt Zouma scoring his second goal for the club to make it three.

"I was worried in the first-half because our dynamic was not good enough," Mourinho said.

"Sometimes I do things that the players don’t like but it’s part of the job. I thought to win the game I needed to make a couple of changes to the players, the system and the dynamic.

"In this moment I forget the players as individuals, I just do what is best for the team."

Mourinho also reserved praise for goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer after the 42-year-old signed for Leicester and insisted there was "no chance" of back-up goalkeeper Petr Cech leaving the Londoners this month.

"I want to publicly thank Mark Schwarzer because he’s leaving us," he added. "He was a fantastic guy for us - when we needed him to play and as a person and a professional he was an amazing guy in our group.

"On behalf of the players and staff we want to say we are going to miss the big guy and wish him all the best in his new life at Leicester."