Jamie Carragher blasts Chelsea over Zlatan Ibrahimovic red card, Gary Neville terms it 'shrewd'
Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher has slammed Chelsea’s conduct prior to Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s red card during Wednesday’s Champions League tie against Paris Saint-Germain at Stamford Bridge. But former Manchester United player Garry Neville gave his thoughts and termed it a ‘shrewd’ move from the Blues. Following a lunging tackle by Ibrahimovic on Oscar, nine Chelsea players surrounded the referee demanding a ‘red card’ and the Swede was subsequently sent off.
The red card was a controversial one and Carragher, who works as a Sky Sports pundit, suggested that the reaction from the Chelsea players was the deciding factor behind the referee’s final decision.
He said, “It was very unfortunate, it’s not a red card. I actually think he’s [Ibrahimovic] trying to pull his foot away. You look at it and you think Oscar’s foot is as high, if not higher.
“The reaction from the Chelsea players is disgraceful. It’s something that is sad that is coming into the game. It comes from I think Jose Mourinho’s teams, they have this reaction, it’s not a one off.”
Mourinho’s teams will be respected but never loved: Carragher
Carragher also suggested that Chelsea’s capacity of such intimidation comes from their manager Mourinho.
He said, “I always think with Mourinho’s teams that they will always be respected but they’ll never be loved because of situations like this.
“They take winning to another level that no other team or manager does that I’ve seen over the years. We all want to win but the reaction of the Chelsea players has definitely played a part and Jose Mourinho’s words in the press conference have worked.
“I’m not criticising him, I applauded him at the time and I know it’s part of the game, but he can’t complain about PSG and that English football is clean as the only dirty tricks we saw were from Chelsea by surrounding the referee and the reaction was disgraceful.”
Fellow pundit Graeme Souness echoed Carragher’s thoughts and termed Chelsea’s actions ‘disgraceful’.
Souness said, “In Jamie’s (Carragher) generation, when someone caught you, the last thing you wanted to show your opponent is that you’re injured, today it’s the exact opposite. If someone brushes you, you want to go down and get them in trouble. That’s how pathetic it is.
“Thank goodness PSG stood up to that and leave here with great credit. They are the proper team.”
Gary Neville defends Chelsea
Chelsea however found support from the unlikeliest of sources in Gary Neville, who said, “I’m not as damning about Chelsea reacting because partly times it happened during my career when you tried to influence the referee. But for far too many times you’ve seen naive English teams in Europe, that have been done on occasions like that.”
“Here, we’ve got a team that is shrewd. People at home might not like it but if the boot was on the other foot we’d be calling PSG shrewd. They play the game, that’s what you need to do in European competition over the last 20, 30 years. It’s different trying to gain those advantages.
“I like the idea that it’s an English team that is shrewd and not the opposition. It comes from Mourinho, he knows how to play the game.”
However, Neville did acknowledge that the decision against Ibrahimovic was harsh.