West Ham jibes just sour grapes from Mourinho?

Jose Mourinho last night accused West Ham of playing “19th Century football” as he saw his Chelsea side held to a goalless draw at Stamford Bridge.

This is a statement which some Hammers fans may well have muttered several times this season. But on this occasion, it came from the manager of a Chelsea side that their team had just battled to a well-earned point against.

Had it not have been for the spirit of the performance and ultimately, the result, Hammers fans could have found themselves nodding in agreement at Jose’s post match interview.

But as Allardyce himself stated in his own interview, what are teams like West Ham supposed to do?

This is a Chelsea side whose bench last night even looked capable of turning West Ham over. Money is too often a go-to excuse used to justify a loss to a significantly wealthier club.

If you don’t have the technical ability or strength in depth to overcome a side of Chelsea’s strength with relative ease, then your game plan can revolve around containing the opposition as opposed to attacking them.

Bigger teams like Chelsea are guilty of this approach too; and in fact, West Ham produced a performance last night that was somewhat reminiscent of Chelsea’s heroics at the Nou Camp in 2012.

It may just be a case of sour grapes for Mourinho as he saw his side drop valuable points in the title race. Some of the ‘Special One’s’ claims stretched even to the extent that West Ham were deliberately attempting to slow the game down and waste time. He stated that the Hammers were feigning injuries to hold the game up. 

Play was in fact halted for injuries after Mohammed Diame hurt himself flying over the advertising boards at full speed (he subsequently went off injured). Play was also temporarily stopped because Joey O’Brien dislocated his shoulder.

These are 2 instances which could hardly be accused of deliberately wasting time (unless these Hammers players are taking commitment a little bit too far!)

Meanwhile, Allardyce had some accusations of his own, stating that Chelsea were persistently intimidating the officials during the match at Stamford Bridge. But the West Ham manager was pleased that referee Neil Swarbrick "stood firm" so not to add any potential controversies to the fixture.

Samuel Eto’o believed he had grabbed all three points for the Blues in the final minute of stoppage time. As West Ham stopper Adrian got down low to save a shot he was clattered by two players when he scrambled to gather the ball.

As a result, he placed the ball on the floor once the crowd had dispersed. Eto’o ran straight up and put the ball in the net only to be told that referee Neil Swarbrick had given Adrian a free kick.

It would have been a cruel ending for the Hammers, had the goal have stood, given their committed efforts to keep Chelsea at bay. 

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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