Jose Mourinho: Chelsea boss apologises for referee comments

Willian (left) with Loic Remy
Willian and Loic Remy scored in Chelsea's win over Watford

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho apologised to referee Kevin Friend after criticising him for not awarding Chelsea a penalty during their 3-0 FA Cup victory over Watford on Sunday.

Mourinho claimed the decision not to award a spot-kick after Craig Cathcart handled a Diego Costa shot was part of a "campaign" against his team.

But he later had a change of heart, praising Friend for "great refereeing".

Mourinho added: "I want to apologise for my comments in some TV interviews."

Once Cathcart had handled inside the area, the ball fell to Loic Remy, who scored with a half-volley to double Chelsea's advantage after substitute Willian had given them a second-half lead.

Referee Friend later told the Portuguese he would have awarded a spot-kick had the striker not scored.

Chelsea continue fine FA Cup run
Chelsea have scored 12 goals without conceding in their three last FA Cup ties against WatfordThe Blues have now won five of the six FA Cup ties they have played against Watford (including a replay)
Chelsea have lost only two of their last 34 FA Cup matches, though one of the draws led to elimination on penalties by EvertonIn the last six seasons, Watford have been knocked out twice by Man City, three times by Chelsea, once by Spurs and once by Brighton

"What the referee did was great refereeing," Mourinho said after hearing Friend's explanation.

"He saw that it was a penalty, he was going to give a penalty, but he saw the ball was going to Remy and he waited a couple of seconds.

"He told me that if Remy didn't control the ball well or the ball goes over the bar or the ball is lost, he would have given the penalty."

Mourinho had initially claimed Friend's failure to penalise Cathcart was another example of the injustice he felt his team had suffered in recent weeks, having complained that Chelsea were denied penalties against Tottenham last week and Southampton in December.

"I was complaining, but it was good refereeing by Kevin," said Mourinho.

Didier Drogba
Didier Drogba later posted on Instagram: "No penalty, no yellow card, only thing I got was two minutes out of the pitch because... I had to change shirt"

The Chelsea manager made eight changes to the team beaten by Spurs and it wasn't until the half-time introduction of Costa and Willian that the Premier League's co-leaders found their fluency.

"We were always in control but the first half was a bit sad, so it was important for us to make changes and try to change the game. Willian and Diego did well," added Moruinho.

Watford manager Slavisa Jokanovic admitted the half-time substitutions changed the game.

"They had to bring on players worth millions of pounds," he said. "I can be happy with the performance, if not the result."