Tag Archives: slams

Roger Federer says he does not lack ambition despite taking two months off

Don't view my break as a lack of ambition… I still want to win more titles, warns Federer

By
Mike Dickson

PUBLISHED:

18:46 GMT, 12 March 2013

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UPDATED:

18:46 GMT, 12 March 2013

Roger Federer’s back is creaking again and soon he will be taking nearly two months off, but the Wimbledon champion insists that neither of these factors should be seen as his ambition waning for more titles.

Once he is finished at this week’s $10 million BNP Paribas Open Federer will retreat until May for practice and family time, and byhis return he is unlikely to still be world No 2.

Andy Murray, who earlier this morning was due to face Taipei’s Yen Hsun Lu in the third round, is closing and could usurp the great Swiss if he were to significantly outperform him at this first Masters event of the season.

Fully focused: Roger Federer says he does not lack ambition

Fully focused: Roger Federer says he does not lack ambition

Federer concedes that the forthcoming break will not help his ranking in the short term but believes it will make him more dangerous for the summer’s three Grand Slams: 'If you play well then you can manage your schedule, but with the rankings you do need to win the tournaments you actually play. I know when I’m playing well I always have a shot.

'My schedule is not in set in stone, maybe if I lost early here or won the tournament it could change my mindset but I doubt it because what I want to do is practise hard. I’m really eager for that because I haven’t been able to practise as much as I would have liked in the last two years.

Taking a break: Federer is set to take two months off

Taking a break: Federer is set to take two months off

'This year the priority is a big build up then coming back really strong for the Masters events in Madrid and Rome before Roland Garros.'

Federer’s back suffered one of its periodic tweaks during his third round victory over Ivan Dodig, but he feels he will be fine to face compatriot Stanislas Wawrinka today.

Victory in that could give him a much-anticipated clash with Rafael Nadal, but first the Spaniard has to overcome the season’s most improved player in Ernests Gulbis.

The colourful Latvian is very talented but has revelled in being an international playboy for the past three years. Now pledging to at least cut down on the drinking, smoking and carousing he has got himself fitter, and the result has been a 12-match winning streak.

Jessica Ennis" coach Toni Minichiello slams UK Athletics for "lack of respect"

Ennis coach slams UK Athletics and claims 'lack of respect' forced him out the door

By
Martha Kelner

PUBLISHED:

20:18 GMT, 9 February 2013

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UPDATED:

21:49 GMT, 9 February 2013

Jessica Ennis' coach, Toni Minichiello, has cut all ties with UK Athletics, claiming he felt ‘bullied’ and ‘not respected’ and alleging that chief executive Niels de Vos had not even congratulated him after Ennis won Olympic gold last summer.

Minichiello had been offered a consultancy role within UKA after his old job came to an end last month.

But Minichiello, who has coached Ennis since she was 12, has turned down the role after relations between him and De Vos and head coach Peter Eriksson soured.

Winning relationship: Toni Minichiello will continue to coach Jessica Ennis

Winning relationship: Toni Minichiello will continue to coach Jessica Ennis

Errikson said last month that Minichiello had been offered a new job and it was his decision to ‘take it or leave it’.

That jarred with Minichiello, who was at the European Indoor Championship Trials in Sheffield yesterday.

‘He said take it or leave it and I left it,’ he said. ‘It reflects what
their attitude and position is on what I’ve achieved in coaching.

‘What I’ve done with Jess, coaching her from such a young age, is
unique. You look at that statement and it shows a lack of respect. I
felt bullied and I’m sick and tired of that.’

No respect: Minichiello believes the terms he was offered from UK Athletics were disrespectful

No respect: Minichiello believes the terms he was offered from UK Athletics were disrespectful

Minichiello will continue to coach Ennis as she targets the World Championships and the Rio Olympics in 2016.

Pay me or don’t pay me, I am still going to coach Jess,’ he said.

Swede Eriksson, who took over from Charles van Commenee as head coach,
said Minichiello’s offer was worth more than his previous job.

‘He had a better financial offer than when he was a full-time employee,’
he said. ‘We gave him a better offer to coach one athlete and he turned
it down. That’s his choice, if he doesn’t want the job, that’s fine.’

No respect: Minichiello believes the terms he was offered from UK Athletics were disrespectful

Minichiello disagreed with Eriksson’s interpretation, saying: ‘It was
actually a reduction in my overall salary compared with the financial
package I was getting before.’

But it was the lack of validation that really hurt Minichiello.

‘After the Olympics, I got floods of congratulations, but there were two
notable absentees — Niels and Ed Warner, the chairman,’ he added. ‘At
no point did they pat me on the back, it was pretty clear they didn’t
rate me even after that success.’

Golden girl: Minichiello fears that his time with Ennis could be limited if he has to look for other work

Golden girl: Minichiello fears that his time with Ennis could be limited if he has to look for other work

A UKA statement said: ‘We made Toni a good offer to continue working
with us, but he has decided he would prefer to coach independently.

We have no issue with that and absolutely respect his decision. His
track record with Jessica is superb and if he feels his decision is the
best way to maintain success, then we respect that.

‘We’ll continue to support Jess and Toni 100 per cent with all training, medical and support services.’

Priority: Head of UKA Niels de Vos confirmed they would still be working very closely with Ennis

Priority: Head of UKA Niels de Vos confirmed they would still be working very closely with Ennis

Aviva Premiership: London Welsh 26 Harlequins 31

London Welsh 26 Harlequins 31: O'Shea slams error-strewn referee despite returning to Aviva Premiership summit

By
Gary Baker

PUBLISHED:

18:43 GMT, 6 January 2013

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UPDATED:

21:56 GMT, 6 January 2013

Harlequins director of rugby Conor O’Shea launched a furious attack on the referee after his side returned to the top of the Aviva Premiership with this bonus-point win.

O’Shea accused official Llyr ApGeraint Roberts of a catalogue of errors, saying: ‘I’m unbelievably frustrated. You’d have to go a long way to see worse.

‘Everything was wrong – it was incredible. The offside line was irrelevant, trailing runners coming back was irrelevant, backing into the maul, not releasing in the tackle – all irrelevant.'

First blood: In-form Danny Care scored Quins' first try

First blood: In-form Danny Care scored Quins' first try

He added: ‘We were 21-6 up at
half-time but bafflingly, the penalty count was against us. How can that
be We have a feedback process for the referees but it’s not actioned
upon and it’s very difficult at times.’

It is the second time in a week,
following equally frustrated comments by Leicester’s Richard Cockerill
when giving his verdict on Andrew Small’s decisions in the Tigers’ 17-12
win over Gloucester, that a major club figure has questioned
officialdom.

O’Shea added: ‘This is just a bit of
moral support as well for Cockers last week. I am just mightily
frustrated. I have vented in the dressing room to the players.'

Reliable: Nick Evans' consistency with the boot was again vital to Quins

Reliable: Nick Evans' consistency with the boot wasReliable: Nick Evans' consistency with the boot was again vital to Quins again vital to Quins

He continued: ‘Something has to be done. Not all of
these guys (refs) are full time. Let’s be fair – our jobs are on the
line every week and it is a strange position to say, “Well, they are not
full time but that’s fine”.’

Quins were great in the first half as
London Welsh seemed on course for a crushing defeat, and O’Shea was
happy with his players’ performance.

‘We played some magnificent running
in the first 45 minutes and that’s what we should be talking about – our
full back, Ollie Lindsay-Hague, dazzled people with his footwork,’
O’Shea said.

Leading by example: Robshaw added another try

Leading by example: Robshaw added another try

ENGLAND WATCH

Captain Chris Robshaw was firing on all cylinders.

He battered his way over for a try and was lucky not to find himself in the sin bin when he came in from the side at a ruck.

But he had a good game and came through unscathed.

Danny Care started brilliantly and darted through the smallest of gaps to score.

But he faded and was replaced by Karl Dickson.

England scrum-half Danny Care and
national skipper Chris Robshaw, plus centre George Lowe, got Quins
first-half tries, and the bonus point came after Nick Evans added a
fourth touchdown.

Wing Nick Scott and the boot of
stand-off Gordon Ross brought Welsh back from the dead and an Ed Jackson
intercept-try threatened a real shock.

But Quins hit back in the closing moments and nearly got another at the end, only a defiant defence halting them.

Welsh head coach Lyn Jones praised his team’s efforts, saying: ‘At half-time, we were staring down the barrel,’ he said,

‘We started the second half well, we
were still in there and we needed to get the first score, which we did.
We had a chance to win but their class and ability shone through in the
end.

‘They are a very good side and it’s a
pity more sides don’t play like them. We are showing determination and
spirit and are good enough to stay in this league.’

Fighting back: The Exiles battle to reduce the deficit

Fighting back: The Exiles battle to reduce the deficit

Calf-injury victim Gavin Henson was
absent from the Welsh line-up, but Jones is optimistic that he will be
able to call upon his services soon.

‘I saw him last Saturday and he was due to train on Wednesday, but his leg wasn’t good enough,’ Jones said.

‘Hopefully, he will play as soon as possible, but it’s a calf injury and I don’t want my players to rush back.’

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce slams suspended players Kevin Nolan and James Collins

Allardyce slams 'unprofessional' Nolan and Collins after they pick up fifth yellow cards in Reading defeat

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UPDATED:

22:38 GMT, 30 December 2012

Sam Allardyce blasted two of his key players who picked up yellow cards against Reading that will force them to miss their New Year's Day match with Norwich.

Captain Kevin Nolan and defender James Collins have been at the heart of West Ham's season but will miss their match against Norwich on Tuesday as they serve a one-match suspension for picking up five yellow cards.

If they had not been booked on Saturday the suspension threshold would been have extended to 10 yellow cards.

Head-to-head: West Ham captain Kevin Nolan squares up to Reading's Alex Pearce during the Premier League match on Saturday

Head-to-head: West Ham captain Kevin Nolan squares up to Reading's Alex Pearce during the Premier League match on Saturday

The Hammers have struggled with injuries this season and only two weeks ago they could not name a full list of substitutes against West Brom.

Nolan was booked with 10 minutes to play for a late challenge on Hal Robson-Kanu who was breaking away inside his own half and Collins's yellow was for a late challenge on Pavel Pogrebnyak – both needless tackles.

And manager Allardyce branded the two players 'unprofessional' for picking up a fifth booking this season so close to the deadline.

The 58-year-old said: 'Suddenly Norwich becomes a test of nerve – we are now in our worst run of results this season, and the unprofessionalism of players, due to frustration, means we are now without our captain and James Collins on New Year's Day through suspension.

Suspension: James Collins, as well as Nolan, picked up their fifth bookings of the season against Reading, meaning they will miss the New Year's Day game with Norwich

Suspension: James Collins, as well as Nolan, picked up their fifth bookings of the season against Reading, meaning they will miss the New Year's Day game with Norwich

'Losing the game was hard enough, but to lose two key players in the last game of the suspension period makes it even worse.

'If they had got booked on Tuesday, there's no suspension, but they go and get booked at Reading and now we have to make do without them.'

The yellow card compounded a particularly bad afternoon for Collins.

The centre back was one of West Ham's best players in reducing Reading to a single shot on target – but it was his glaring mistake that handed them that chance that resulted in the winner.

On five minutes Collins played a woefully short pass back to Jussi Jaaskelainen and Pogrebnyak ran on to the ball and finished one-on-one with the goalkeeper.

Bad day at the office: Collins also underhit a backpass to gift Pavel Pogrebnyak what turned out to be the decisive goal on five minutes

Bad day at the office: Collins also underhit a backpass to gift Pavel Pogrebnyak what turned out to be the decisive goal on five minutes

The result was only Reading's second win in the league this season against a team they came up with from the Championship.

West Ham are now only six points clear of the relegation zone following a run of one win in eight matches.

They have lost five of their last seven games and Allardyce admitted they are starting to worry about Premier League survival.

But his captain Nolan insisted that during the previous four seasons no-one outside of the top four are safe in the Barclays Premier League until close to the end of the campaign.

The 30-year-old said: 'In the Premier League no matter where you are unless it's two games to go and you're in the top 10 you don't not look behind you.

Not impressed: West Ham manager Sam Allardyce branded Nolan and Collins 'unprofessional' after picking up the suspensions

Not impressed: West Ham manager Sam Allardyce branded Nolan and Collins 'unprofessional' after picking up the suspensions

'I think if you can include Everton [and Arsenal] with the top four all the rest of the teams could be around [the relegation place], a few losses and you're all dragged back into it.

'It's just the way it is, the way the league has been the last three or four years.'

He added: 'We're on 23 points, it's been a decent start, if you'd offered us that at the beginning of the season we would've taken it. That's how we've got to look at it.

'We've got to go for another 23 points and plus that for the next half of the season which is going to be tough but we're more than capable of doing it.'

LIVE: Novak Djokovic v Roger Federer: Score from ATP World Tour finals at O2 Arena

Novak Djokovic v Roger Federer: Latest score from the ATP World Tour Finals showpiece at the O2 Arena

PUBLISHED:

17:50 GMT, 12 November 2012

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UPDATED:

17:50 GMT, 12 November 2012

Follow the action as Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer battle it out to win the ATP World Tour Finals at London's O2 Arena from 8pm on Monday night.

The pair, world Nos 1 and 2 respectively, have won 22 Grand Slams between them and saw off Juan Martin Del Potro and home favourite Andy Murray in the semi-finals.

The final gets under way at 8pm.

CLICK HERE FOR THE LIVE SCORE

Top two: World No 1 Novak Djokovic (above) and world No 2 Roger Federer (below)

Top two: World No 1 Novak Djokovic (above) and world No 2 Roger Federer (below)

Top two: World No 1 Novak Djokovic (above) and world No 2 Roger Federer (below)

Steven Gerrard slams Everton"s tactics

It was like playing Stoke! Gerrard slams Everton after derby draw

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UPDATED:

22:24 GMT, 29 October 2012

Steven Gerrard has launched a withering condemnation of Everton’s derby match tactics and warned Premier League managers of the perils of singling out Luis Suarez.

The Liverpool captain, who was left furious by the ‘goal’ which assistant referee Simon Bennett ruled out in stoppage time of Sunday’s controversial 2-2 draw, is adamant his side will usurp Everton to become Merseyside’s main contenders for a European spot.

He felt Everton’s play was one-dimensional and direct, claiming their style was similar to that of Stoke. From the evidence Gerrard has seen so far this season, he believes Liverpool’s approach to the game will ultimately prove decisive.

Premature: Steven Gerrard celebrated but Luis Suarez's effort was ruled out

Premature: Steven Gerrard celebrated but Luis Suarez's effort was ruled out

‘There was only one team who came into the derby trying to play football,’ said Gerrard. ‘Everton are effective because they have some big physical lads in the team and are very direct. They are effective.

‘But the only team who tried to play football was us. Everton are not better than us. I thought we stood up to a team that are very similar to Stoke. Every time they get the ball at their goalkeeper, it comes in long. We had a young small team and they were all men and stood together.’

Gerrard was angered by the reaction of assistant referee Bennett at the end of the game, when he enquired why Suarez’s strike had been ruled out and was disappointed that there had been so much spoken about the Uruguayan before the game at Goodison Park.

Everton boss David Moyes had said that players like Suarez would 'turn people away from football” if they continued play-acting but Gerrard hit back, saying that anyone who believes they can settle the 25-year-old psychologically are out of touch.

Cheeky: Suarez celebrates his first goal in front of Everton boss David Moyes

Cheeky: Suarez celebrates his first goal in front of Everton boss David Moyes

'Luis was fantastic,’ said Gerrard. ‘He
doesn’t need David Moyes to fire him up. But if people want to try and
wind him up, then it’s the wrong thing to do. You saw (on Sunday) that
it seems to inspire him rather than go against him.’

Of the disallowed goal, Gerrard was equally forthright saying: ‘There is no offside and it’s difficult for me to explain it. The only person who can explain it is the linesman. I asked him after the game if it was offside and he said ‘I think so’. That’s not good enough.

‘If every decision in this league is based on “we think so” then we’re in trouble. The linesman got it badly wrong. The benefit of the doubt is supposed to go to the attacking player anyway. And for their second goal, it’s a clear throw-in to us.

Good news: Kevin Mirallas (right) should shrug off his knock

Good news: Kevin Mirallas (right) should shrug off his knock

‘The linesman gives us the throw but the referee (Andre Marriner) saw something different.’

Everton, meanwhile, have received a boost out of the derby over Kevin Mirallas. The Belgium forward had been outstanding before he was forced off at half-time, having turned an ankle. It was initially feared he would be out for a fortnight but he should be fit for the weekend trip to Fulham.

Rio Ferdinand and Manchester United to wear Kick It Out tops

United front! Ferdinand and Co to wear Kick It Out t-shirts as Fergie slams Roberts for urging boycott

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UPDATED:

09:11 GMT, 19 October 2012

Rio Ferdinand and his Manchester United team-mates will wear Kick It Out shirts ahead of Saturday's game against Stoke.

The United players will take a stand in the week Chelsea's John Terry accepted his four-match ban and 220,00 fine for using racist language in an incident with Ferdinand's brother Anton during a match last year.

Reading striker Jason Roberts believes Terry's punishment was too lenient and urged his fellow professionals not to wear the tops, claiming the anti-discrimination body had failed.

United front: Rio Ferdinand (right) and his team-mates will wear Kick It Out tops before facing Stoke

United front: Rio Ferdinand (right) and his team-mates will wear Kick It Out tops before facing Stoke

But United manager Sir Alex Ferguson condemned the Royals forward, saying: 'I have to disagree with Jason Roberts. I think he is making the wrong point.

'Everyone should be united, with all the players in the country wearing the Kick It Out warm-up tops.

I don't know what point he is trying to make. I don't know if he is trying to put himself on a different pedestal from everyone. But he really should be supporting all the rest of the players who are doing it.

'When you do something, and everyone believes in it, you should all do it together. There shouldn't be a lone sheep wandering off. I think he is making the wrong message.

'All the players are wearing it. I have only heard that Jason Roberts is different – but he is very different. He plays a game and is in the studio 20 minutes after it. That is a great privilege.'

Support: West Ham players backed the Kick It Out campaign this week

Support: West Ham players backed the Kick It Out campaign this week

BBC to list super 12 for Sports Personality of the Year award after golden year

BBC to list super 12 for Sports
Personality of the Year award

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UPDATED:

21:55 GMT, 18 October 2012

The BBC's shortlist for the Sports
Personality of the Year award will be extended to 12 names in
recognition of the unprecedented achievements this summer.

A new selection format will also be
revealed on Friday, with Baroness Grey-Thompson, Denise Lewis and Sir
Steve Redgrave part of a 12-person panel given the task of picking the
candidates ahead of the public vote on December 16.

Favourite: Bradley Wiggins

In the running: Bradley Wiggins

Sportsmail's head of sport, Lee Clayton, is one of three newspaper executives who have been choosen to take part in the process.

The changes to the procedure are in part a response to the outcry caused when last year's version did not include any female nominees. Magazines Nuts and Zoo were two of the 27 publications which received a vote.

Bradley Wiggins, who became the first Briton to win the Tour de France before taking the Olympic time-trial crown, is the bookies' favourite with Andy Murray, who won Britain's first Grand Slam title since 1936 at the US Open – as well as gold and silver at London 2012 – in second.

In Redgrave's eyes, Wiggins has a winning pedigree. 'We have had tennis players who have won Grand Slams,' he said. 'We have never had anybody who has won the Tour de France.'

Golden girl: Ellie Simmonds

Golden girl: Ellie Simmonds

Redgrave revealed that his shortlist so far also includes three Paralympians – David Weir, Sarah Storey and Ellie Simmonds.

Sue Barker, Gary Lineker and Clare Balding will host the show in front of a capacity crowd of 15,000 at the ExCeL Arena, making it the largest gathering in the award's 59-year history. Viewers will be asked to vote for the winner during the broadcast.

Mo Farah and Jessica Ennis are two others in contention and Ennis pipped Farah to the title of British Olympic Athlete of the Year. The heptathlon gold medallist claimed 48 per cent of the vote. Wheelchair racer Weir also collected 48 per cent of the vote en route to claiming the Paralympic award.

EXCLUSIVE: Daniel Levy shuts door on Tim Sherwood"s Blackburn return

EXCLUSIVE: Spurs chairman Levy slams door shut on Sherwood's Rovers return

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UPDATED:

21:51 GMT, 30 September 2012

Daniel Levy has turned down an official approach from Blackburn for Tim Sherwood, the Tottenham technical co-ordinator.

The Spurs chairman, who will speak to Sherwood about his future this week, does not want him to quit the club.

Blackburn are ready to offer Sherwood, who captained the club to the 1995 Premiership title, the job of reviving their fortunes following Steve Kean's resignation.

Not on my watch: Daniel Levy turned down an official approach from Blackburn Rovers

Not on my watch: Daniel Levy turned down an official approach from Blackburn Rovers

Owners, the Venky family, are banking on the emotional pull of Blackburn to convince Sherwood to return as their manager.

The 43-year-old is their favoured option, but they cannot get through the front door at Tottenham after Levy rejected their advances on Sunday.

Sherwood, who is happy with his role developing young players at the north London club, has never had any managerial ambitions.

The former Spurs midfielder has been working with the club's young players and putting a development structure in place since he joined the coaching staff in October 2008.

His next logical move at White Hart Lane appeared to be the vacant role of technical director, but manager Andre Villas-Boas insisted last week that Sherwood would not be promoted to the position.

When questioned over the weekend, Sherwood said: 'That's all they are – just rumours. That's all I know about it.

'I've got a great job where I am. There is nothing to consider. It's just speculation.

'I love what I do. I'm happy at the football club, it's a great project.'

No chance: Levy (left) is a notoriously tough negotiator

No chance: Levy (left) is a notoriously tough negotiator

Remember this Sherwood (centre) captained Blackburn as they won the Premiership in 1995

Remember this Sherwood (centre) captained Blackburn as they won the Premiership in 1995

Tony Pulis slams Chelsea"s diving foreign stars

Pulis slams Chelsea's diving foreign stars as Stoke lose niggly Stamford Bridge clash

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UPDATED:

18:56 GMT, 22 September 2012

Tony Pulis branded Branislav Ivanovic and Oscar 'laughable' after accusing the Chelsea pair of diving in Stoke's Barclays Premier League defeat at Stamford Bridge.

Potters boss Pulis was fuming with the Blues stars, despite their failure to win penalties in Saturday's match and the fact Oscar was booked by referee Michael Oliver.

Ivanovic, though, escaped a caution after throwing himself down in the box in the first half when he appeared not to be touched.

Ash and grab: The England defender scored the winning goal with just five minutes remaining at Stamford Bridge

Ash and grab: The England ace scored the winning goal with just five minutes remaining at Stamford Bridge

Ashley Cole celebrates winner

Pulis also insisted Chelsea should
have ended their 1-0 victory with 10 men after David Luiz was shown a
yellow – and not a red – card for a crude lunge on Jonathan Walters.

Highlighting what he dubbed 'the
simulation', Pulis said: 'Ivanovic's one in the first half is laughable
and the lad Oscar, who's a fabulous player.

'This is England. We're playing in England, we're not playing in Europe.

'And we can't watch people just fall over and not talk about it. That's the disappointing thing.

'We should highlight it and keep highlighting it and keep highlighting it.

Knee-sy does it: Cole celebrates after scoring the winning goal at Stamford Bridge

Knee-sy does it: Cole celebrates after scoring the winning goal at Stamford Bridge

Chance: But misfiring Torres sees his shot saved by Stoke stopper Begovic

Chance: But misfiring Torres sees his shot saved by Stoke stopper Begovic

'There are certain players in the
Premier League who have got a reputation and referees know that if you
touch them then they'll fall down or go down as quickly as they can.

'The people that do it, just keep
highlighting it, keep showing it, because it's a part of the game that I
don't think we should stomach and we don't talk about enough.'

He added: 'I think there were four
occasions today. The referee did smashing. “But that's the other point.
They put enormous pressure on by falling over.

'It's difficult enough today to referee anyway.

'And for players to be doing that, I don't think it's fair on the referees.'

Pulis said of the Luiz lunge: “It's a
dreadful challenge and I think David would be the first one to say he's
very, very lucky to stay on the pitch – very.'

Asked if it would have been a red
card had Luiz been a Stoke player, Pulis said: 'Now you said that, not
me. Make sure the FA know it was you.'

Pulis also claimed Stoke striker
Peter Crouch felt he should have had a first-half penalty himself.
Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo denied Oscar had dived and insisted
Oliver was wrong to book him.

He said: 'There was contact. Maybe
the referee didn't feel there was enough contact. “He shouldn't have
booked him from my point of view.

'After the game, he can watch a replay and it's easy to make that decision.'

The European champions have been
denied several penalty claims in recent weeks but Di Matteo ruled out
making a formal complaint to referees' chief Mike Riley.

Chelsea looked set for a fourth
straight match without a win today before Ashley Cole spared the blushes
of their 130million attack with his first goal since May 2010.

Winner: Ashley Cole slides on his knees after netting for the Blues

Winner: Ashley Cole slides on his knees after netting for the Blues

Fury: Crouch reacts to a decision made by the match officials

Fury: Crouch reacts to a decision made by the match officials

But Di Matteo said: 'I thought it was just a question of time before we scored.

'Obviously, when it comes towards the last 20 minutes, time is running out.

'But when you play against Stoke,
it's always so hard to break them down and they defend with so many men
and they're very well-drilled as well.'

Di Matteo admitted it would take
time for Eden Hazard, Oscar and Juan Mata to click after handing the
80million trio their first start together.

They failed to get Fernando Torres
scoring but Di Matteo said of the 50million man, who flopped again
today: 'He's in a very good mood because he's in a team that's at the
top of the league.'

In action: Michael Owen replaced Charlie Adam just after the hour mark

In action: Michael Owen replaced Charlie Adam just after the hour mark

Di Matteo revealed Daniel Sturridge
could be fit for next weekend's trip to Arsenal, when John Terry and
Frank Lampard are also expected to return after starting today's game on
the bench.

The Italian insisted the pair had
been omitted to avoid burnout later in the season, scoffing at
suggestions it had anything to do with Roman Abramovich – who watched
today's game – visiting Chelsea's training ground on Thursday after the
club blew a 2-0 lead to draw against Juventus.

Watching on: Roman Abramovich will be pleased after seeing Chelsea beat Stoke

Watching on: Roman Abramovich will be pleased after seeing Chelsea beat Stoke

'Come on, seriously now Seriously'
he said, refusing to rule out picking Terry for Tuesday's Capital One
Cup clash with Wolves.

That is despite it being understood
his captain's Football Association hearing over the Anton Ferdinand saga
is set to begin on Monday.

Losing control: Jonathan Walters is held back by John Terry as tempers flare

Losing control: Jonathan Walters is held back by John Terry as tempers flare

'Let's see what the outcome is first,' he said.

Di Matteo also played the
wait-and-see game over Cole's contract talks, with the England
left-back's current deal due to expire next summer.

He said: 'My recommendation, of course, to the club is to make him stay here as long as they can.

'They'll find a solution, I'm sure, because both parties are happy to talk.'