Belfast Telegraph

No campaign against Chelsea, says Koeman

By Nick Purewal

Jose Mourinho was wrong to claim there is a "campaign" to influence referees' decisions against Chelsea, according to Southampton boss Ronald Koeman.

Mourinho's former Barcelona coaching colleague Koeman believes there is no vendetta against Chelsea from the Blues' Premier League rivals.

Stamford Bridge chief Mourinho was furious Chelsea were denied a penalty in the dying stages of Sunday's 1-1 draw at Southampton, with referee Anthony Taylor instead booking Cesc Fabregas for diving.

Saints boss Koeman admitted Chelsea deserved a penalty for Matt Target's challenge on Fabregas, but rejected Mourinho's complaints the Blues' rivals try to influence refereeing decisions.

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"It's his feeling, I can't say anything about that, but I don't think so," said Koeman.

"I think referees are human people, everybody makes mistakes.

"And I think at the end of the season it's a little bit in balance.

"I don't think teams are more punished by the referee than the rest of the teams.

"It was a bad mistake from the referee, because when I watched the game afterwards it was a 100 per cent penalty.

"But sometimes you get a penalty and sometimes you don't, that's part of the job."

Koeman believes a panel to review refereeing decisions would only add further pressure on top-flight match officials.

"It's a difficult question: always we are talking a lot about the referees," he said.

"That makes more attention and more pressure to the referees, and I think that's not good."

Koeman said Saints could still add another attacking player to the squad this month, despite already recruiting Eljero Elia on loan from Werder Bremen.

"Elia is a good player for us because we like to play with wing players, fast players."

The St Mary's manager also said he is keen to sign Belgian defender Toby Alderweireld on a permanent deal, but said he will not rush the 25-year-old into a decision.

"I've spoken to Toby and I'd like for him to stay, but it's up to the player."

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