Jose Mourinho responded with biting sarcasm to the way referee Mike Dean handled Chelsea’s 2-1 loss at home to Sunderland on Saturday. Dean awarded a controversial late penalty to the Black Cats following Cesar Azpilicueta’s challenge on USA international Jozy Altidore near the touchline. The loss, Mourinho’s first in the Premier League in 78 games as Blues manager, left Chelsea’s coaching staff livid; even Sunderland coach Gus Poyet said he understood the home team’s hostile reaction to the decision.
In a statement delivered ahead of any questions from the press, Mourinho said he would like to make “three or four points,” which were as follows: "The first is to congratulate my players. They did everything they could, playing from the first minute to the last seconds, and deserved that. Sometimes we praise the players when we win. I think it's fair to praise my players after the defeat. Secondly, congratulations to Sunderland. It doesn't matter how, why or in which way they won, they won. They won three fantastic points. I think it's also fair to congratulate them.”
He continued: "Third point, I want to congratulate again Mike Dean. I think his performance was unbelievable and I think when referees have unbelievable performances, I think it's fair that as managers we give them praise. So, fantastic performance. He came here with one objective. To make a fantastic performance. And he did that. And, fourth, congratulations also to Mike Riley, the referees' boss. What they are doing through the whole season is fantastic, especially in the last couple of months, and in teams involved in the title race. Absolutely fantastic. I also congratulate Mr. Riley."
Poyet, whose last-place team has now taken four crucial points from back-to-back visits to Manchester City and Chelsea, said: "I saw it on the computer and I understand why they can be talking if it was or not [a penalty]. It's very difficult. I never, ever would expect to get a penalty here. Ever. If it was given against me, I would do the same. Emotion gets the better of you, and that could be the key moment for the title, that one. When it's for you, you feel you can see why he gave it.”