Sean Dyche defends Ashley Barnes over Matic challenge

Burnley forward Ashley Barnes (left) goes up for a challenge with Chelsea captain John Terry
The tackle by Barnes (left) on Matic was called "criminal" by Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho

Burnley boss Sean Dyche has defended forward Ashley Barnes following his challenge on Nemanja Matic in Saturday's draw at Chelsea.

Matic was sent off after reacting angrily to being struck on the shin by Barnes, with Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho describing the tackle as "criminal".

Barnes was not punished during the match and faces no FA action.

Dyche said he found Mourinho's view "hard to believe", adding: "In live time no-one reacts, apart from Matic."

Barnes played the ball but caught the Serbia midfielder high on the shin with his studs as he followed through after making a pass..

The Clarets manager admitted that slow-motion replays made the incident look like an "ugly challenge", but described it as a "coming-together at an unusual angle".

On Matic's reaction, Mourinho said: "What are the consequences of his push? Nothing. The consequence for Matic from the tackle? It could be the end of his career."

In a 10-minute interview with the club's video channel, Dyche said comments about the incident had "gone a bit too far" and that he wanted to "give a balanced view, retrospectively, with the evidence we have got and my opinion".

He said: "Ashley Barnes tries to play the ball to Dave Jones. His momentum and pendulum motion of his leg swings up through the ball and unfortunately Matic is late arriving on the scene - not in a vicious way.

"Please everyone look at the reaction from a bunch of expert footballers on the Chelsea side, like John Terry - a real warrior - and Kurt Zouma, big strong boys, and Branislav Ivanovic.

"They are right on top of this one, Jose Mourinho had a similar view to me and the crowd. In live time no-one reacts, apart from Matic."

Match of the Day pundit Alan Shearer
"This is a horrific tackle by Ashley Barnes. It's dangerous, it's naughty. I understand that reaction from Nemanja Matic. It's not right, but I understand it, because Ashley Barnes could easily have broken his leg. Matic, for that, is going to miss the League Cup final. Barnes doesn't even get a yellow card."

Chelsea are to appeal against Matic's red card, with the player set to miss Sunday's Capital One Cup final against Tottenham through suspension.

Dyche added: "With hindsight, with camera views, with slow-motion, now there's statements like 'criminal tackle' and the like being used.

"It's a real tough one. I find it hard to believe that all of those people who have now come out with - especially the manager - very strong phrases about that moment, had no reaction at all, at that live moment."

The FA confirmed that because referee Martin Atkinson saw the incident and took no action at the time, it will not be "re-refereeing" the challenge.

Atkinson will not referee this weekend, with a shortened fixture list because of the Capital One Cup final between Tottenham and Chelsea, a game Matic now looks set to miss.

Former referees' chief Keith Hackett believes Atkinson needs a rest after describing his performance in the game as "incompetent".

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