West Ham manager Bilic defends beleagured Mourinho

London, Oct 25 (IANS) West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic has defended Jose Mourinho after his Chelsea counterpart was banished from the dugout during their English Premier League (EPL) clash at the Boleyn Ground here.

West Ham clinched a 2-1 win on Saturday in front of their home crowd as Chelsea produced an indisciplined performance that saw them reduced to 10-men when Nemanja Matic was sent off on the stroke of half-time for a second bookable offence.

Chelsea also had a goal disallowed in the first half when Cesc Fabregas was ruled offside. Several Chelsea players protested bitterly and two of them were shown yellow cards for dissent.

Chelsea players and officials argued on the sidelines as well and their assistant coach Silvino Louro was banished to the stands for berating the fourth official. The visitors’ woes were compounded when Mourinho was also sent to the stands for arguing with referee Jonathan Moss at half-time.

Bilic sympathised with Mourinho after the match, but also defended the referee’s decisions.

“I feel for him. Decisions from his point of view have gone against him. I would moan if it was against us. But they are not mistakes — they are matters of opinion. The sending-off I didn’t see. The first one was definitely yellow, the second one was very far from me, but it looked like Sakho was already gone,” the Croatian was quoted as saying by the Independent.

“But I think second yellows, especially in the first half, should be ‘proper’ bookings. The disallowed goal? No-one can say onside or offside even when you freeze the picture,” he added.

“For the disallowed goal, nobody can say that he was on and nobody can say that he was off — even when you see the pictures, you are not sure. Looking in the game, it was more off than on. I would definitely moan if the decisions were against us, but they were not mistakes.”

Saturday’s win saw West Ham add defending EPL champions Chelsea to a list of impressive high profile scalps this season which includes Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City.

“I’m very proud of my team and my club. It’s brilliant to win against the champions at home,” Bilic remarked.

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