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By ESPN Staff

Mourinho angry at Messi 'provocation'

Jose Mourinho accused Barcelona teenager Lionel Messi of being a talented actor after 10-man Chelsea slumped to a 2-1 defeat.

Blues boss Mourinho was furious to see Asier del Horno sent off for a first-half foul on Messi and called on the media to launch a campaign against the 18-year-old striker.

Mourinho felt the 37th-minute incident changed the game and Del Horno is now suspended for the second leg of the Champions League last-16 tie in a fortnight.

'Can Messi be suspended for acting? Barcelona is a very cultural city. You know all about theatre. You have theatres of high quality,' Mourinho said.

The Chelsea boss was angry when Michael Essien was suspended by UEFA after the group game against Liverpool for a foul which was missed by the referee at the time.

He added: 'Essien was quite correctly suspended for it after the game. So what can we do now? Can we take back the red card from Del Horno? Can we revoke his suspension from the Nou Camp.

'We go there without Essien and without Del Horno. Do I send a `B team' and concentrate on the FA Cup and the league? Can we suspend Messi for acting?'

Mourinho blames Sky TV for the Essien suspension because they showed numerous replays of the incident, and urged the broadcaster: 'Show Messi's reaction. Are you going to show it 200 times a week? Try to persuade UEFA to replay the game. Can you do this for us?

'Of course it's not a red card. Messi is not just a very good player, he is more than that. He jumps and provokes contact with Del Horno and because of that the referee gives him a red card.

'It's not a red card and for the second time we have to play 55, 60 minutes without a man and the game is completely different.

'When you are 10 against 11 you can't press up the field, you can't double-up on the wing and you can't defend deep. It's a big change.

'We can talk about these issues but I prefer to say I'm very proud of my players and we will go to Barcelona in a positive frame of mind.'

Chelsea beat Barcelona in the competition last year despite having Didier Drogba sent off in the first half of the first leg.

Barcelona boss Frank Rijkaard refused to be drawn into a war of words over the inspirational Messi, who was in terrific form.

Rijkaard said: 'I see fouls on Messi all the time and he's not a player to over-react. He gets a lot of fouls.

'There was a foul on Messi before the red card incident and I don't know if the referee decided to play an advantage.

'It was an important result for us in a special game. The game was very tense with lots of media attention before it.

'We created enough chances to win but Chelsea's goal helped us in a strange way.

'There was a distinct change in the mentality of our players after the goal.

'Before they were too tense to express themselves but they reacted positively.'