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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Nov 6, 2006

Chelsea to escape charges after Spurs loss

Chelsea are almost certain to escape any punishment following their heated clash with Tottenham at White Hart Lane on Sunday.

The Premiership champions were beaten by Spurs for the first time in the league since 1990 but the game was notable for a number of incidents which threatened more disciplinary woe for the Blues.

Referee Graham Poll was surrounded by Chelsea players following a booking for Michael Ballack in the second half, while captain John Terry sparked a touchline bust-up with stewards when he initially refused to go straight to the dressing room after being sent off for a second bookable offence in the 71st minute.

Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho then criticised Poll in his post-match media conference - comments which sparked fresh speculation that he could face disciplinary action from the FA.

But Soccernet understands that no action will be taken on all three counts, although the exact context of Mourinho's comments continue to be assessed by the FA.

It is understood that Poll did not make any specific reference to Terry's departure in his match report and as a result the FA will take no action other than applying a one-match ban to the player.

Chelsea have been fined sums ranging from £10,000 to £15,000 for failing to control their players three times in the past two seasons, but they are expected to escape a charge of intimidating behaviour even though four players surrounded Poll following Ballack's yellow card for dissent.

Although FA regulations state that when a match official reports he was harassed or intimidated by three or more players, a club can be fined up to £250,000, no charges are expected in this instance.

Similarly, Mourinho's outburst over Poll's failure to send off Hossam Ghaly for an elbow on Michael Essien and that Terry should not have been sent off, are not expected to leave the Portuguese coach in more trouble with the FA.

Although the authorities are still examining the context of his remarks, early indications suggest there will be no formal disciplinary action taken against Mourinho.

Chelsea's 2-1 defeat leaves them three points adrift of Manchester United at the top of the table after a pulsating encounter at White Hart Lane.

It was Tottenham's first home victory over the Blues since 1987 but captain Ledley King insisted their poor record had not provided them with any extra motivation.

King said: 'With not having beaten them for so long it is nice to get it out of the way, but it was not really about that for a lot of the players we have got at the club.

'A lot of them were not familiar with the record and we saw it as another game against probably the best team in the league at the moment. It was always going to be difficult, you could see that we were up for it and it was a great all-round performance.

'For us it was another game, we take one game at a time and we happened to be playing Chelsea. We wanted the points as much as we will in our next league game. There was extra spice because they are champions and a lot of the players have not even played Chelsea before for Tottenham.

'We are aware of their qualities and we just wanted to put ourselves up against them.'

Chelsea looked certain to stretch their unbeaten run when Claude Makelele put them in front with a well executed volley in the 14th minute but Tottenham's Michael Dawson levelled 10 minutes later.

England's teenage winger Aaron Lennon clinched the points for Spurs in the 51st minute when he converted a cross from Robbie Keane.

Chelsea piled on the pressure, even after Terry's dismissal, and were unlucky not to earn a draw when Arjen Robben's late effort hit an upright.

Robben, without a goal since February, said: 'In each of the last four games I could have scored but I have clipped the shoulder of the goalkeeper or had some bad luck.

'I just have to keep going and I think when one goes in, more will keep coming. After the red card, our tactic was to just kept going forward.

'Of course we gave away some space and Tottenham were also quite dangerous, but we did quite well and my shot, I think, missed by just millimetres.'

For the second game in a row Chelsea collected six bookings but Robben insists they are not a dirty side.

He added: 'I think we are strong physically but we are not mean. We play fair. It is all different from the Champions League but we were ready for the battle. We were up for it and I think we showed that.'