Belfast Telegraph

Mee ponders Mou role in Barnes red

Burnley defender Ben Mee questioned whether Jose Mourinho's previous criticism of Ashley Barnes may have played a part in his sending off against Everton.

The midfielder was dismissed for two tackles, the first of which did not even connect with his opponent, on the stroke of half-time in the 1-0 defeat at Goodison Park.

Barnes courted controversy back in February when his studs-up challenge on Nemanja Matic provoked an angry retaliation from the Chelsea midfielder, for which he was shown a red card, and led Mourinho to call it "criminal".

Neither of his tackles against Everton were on a par with that one and were more a result of a lack of self-discipline than anything else, but Mee hopes Barnes has not earned himself an unwarranted reputation because what the outspoken Chelsea manager said had got into the head of officials.

"It shouldn't be, should it? But you never know," he said.

"He's a nice lad and he didn't mean to get sent off for it. That's the way it is.

"He's not like that. You can tell with the (second) tackle that it's not a malicious tackle. Nobody reacted like that.

"For the first booking, I remember thinking it was a bit harsh. The second one was a bit silly but you get sent off for such easy things these days.

"Two tackles he's made and got two bookings. You wouldn't have thought twice if the referee had just let one go.

"He's disappointed. Obviously he didn't want to get sent off. Nobody will hold it against him."

Barnes will now be suspended for next weekend's crucial visit of fellow strugglers Leicester, whose three successive wins have breathed new life into their survival bid at the expense of Burnley, who have taken over their spot at the foot of the Premier League.

Striker Sam Vokes said they were trying not to pay too much attention to their current position.

"We don't look at the table too much. In the next five games, we're playing teams around us so it's a chance, in this period, for us to go in with confidence," he said.

"We always look to the next game as the biggest game. It (being Leicester) adds to that.

"The games are getting less and less, which makes it even more important.

"We are fighting and we'll fight to the end. Looking at what Leicester have done in the last three games there's no reason why we can't do that in the next three.

"It's obviously a tough league. We know that. It's hard. Leicester have gone on a run. Now we have to do that.

"We're a confident bunch of lads but we're in the Premier League and nobody expected us to be here so we're going to take every game as it comes and be positive.

"There's no pressure on us from people from outside. There's just pressure from ourselves."


From Belfast Telegraph