The Man Utd manager Alex Ferguson was slightly unhappy that Michael Ballack was not sent off for his block on Patrice Evra just before Chelsea scored their second goal yesterday. And he also blasted the ref, Chris Foy, for not even stopping the game so that Evra could get treatment.
“If the referee sees it properly, it’s a red card,” Ferguson said. “He’s elbowed him clearly. The referee’s in line and had a clear view so Ballack’s lucky. But he’s made a rod for his own back. He’d stopped the game twice already: when Nani was down and on a second occasion when Ballack went down. We’ve seen that before with him. I spoke to the referee [about that previous incident] and he said it was serious and Ballack needed treatment, though he was up straight away.
“The least he should have done is stop the game. When players are acting to get the game stopped, when they lose possession and lie down … it’s an area I’m concerned about. We’ve got to find a solution to that. You see it all the time when teams attack and then the other side go on a counter, so a player lies down in the penalty box to try and get the game stopped. It’s not right. The referee didn’t get it right today. You have to be consistent and he blew twice but not the third time.”
Ballack himself admitted that he was lucky not to give away a freekick for the “block”.
“I have to be happy that the referee didn’t blow because maybe I blocked him a little bit,” said Ballack. “If the referee gives a foul it would have been okay as well, but he decided not to. It was a bit unlucky after that because they conceded the goal.
“I kept on playing but then I didn’t have the ball so I couldn’t see how injured he was.”
Lampard, who went on to score the goal as Chelsea kept playing, said that if United were in that position they would have played on as well. He said: “It’s up to the referee to stop it. There had been an earlier incident when Michael Ballack went down and the referee stopped it and all the United players moaned.”
He was then asked if perhap he should have just kicked the ball off the pitch rather than score, but he replied: “I don’t think any player would, you’re entitled to shoot,” he said. “That’s what United did in the first half, but the referee stopped them and when Ballack went down in the second half they were complaining that they couldn’t carry on.”
So the first bit of contention for the season, but the important thing as that Chelsea have got their first trophy of the season, and first blood in which is sure to be an exciting season.