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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Nov, 30, 2008

Scolari demands an apology for 'offisde' goal

Chelsea manager Luiz Felipe Scolari called for referee Mike Dean and his assistant to make an apology for allowing Robin van Persie's offside goal which turned today's Barclays Premier League clash against Arsenal at Stamford Bridge.

An own goal from Johan Djourou had given the home side a first-half lead, before the Gunners fought back.

Van Persie was clearly in an offside position as he collected a pass from Denilson on the edge of the penalty area, before smashing the ball past Petr Cech.

There was, though, nothing controversial about what proved to be the winning goal, when the Dutchman spun in the box to drill a low shot into the far corner.

However, the fact his team were "killed'' by such a crucial decision did not sit well with the Brazilian coach.

He said: "Have you ever heard me speak about referees any time in the games I have been here? Never, in 15 in the Premier League, four in the Champions League, the Carling Cup, I have not said anything, but today is different.

"I do not want the referee to make something different - I want only after tomorrow that he looks at the television, that the referee and the linesman see they are wrong, and they say 'sorry'.

"That is all I want, no more, because they were not good and made a mistake, which I understand.

"I do not want three points, all I want is them to say sorry it was a mistake, because in the first half, the same linesman made a mistake against us with [Salomon] Kalou.

"He is human and he can make a mistake, but the offside has killed my team. I just want them to say they are wrong, because I am wrong when I put some players in, or the players are wrong when they make a mistake in front of goal or are not covering.

"These are all wrong, but the referee is never wrong.

"I do not think they came here to deliberately make a mistake against us.

"It is difficult to play for my team after this, because they lost their concentration. The offside killed my team.

"We lost today because one goal was not a goal, and it was a goal which changed the result.

"If we won, Arsenal would have been 13 points behind us and their championship would have been finished.''

While Scolari's men remain top on goal difference from Liverpool tonight, the Merseysiders will replace Chelsea if they get at least a point from their clash with West Ham at Anfield tomorrow.

"We have now lost three points and in the last five games we have not played well, but that is my mistake and the players' mistake,'' said the Chelsea boss.

"The players are very angry about the first goal, but the players understand they have not played well.

"Now, I need to say, okay, this game is finished and I have a week to work with the players and try to make it better than before to get started again, to get in a good position.''

Scolari added: "Now when we play away against our title rivals, we need to win.

"The gap will sometimes be six points, sometimes three and in the last two or three games of the season, that will decide who is the champion.''

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, meanwhile, hailed a "massive win'' for his team.

It was the Gunners' second of the season against the so-called big four, and clawed them back to within seven points of the top of the table after suffering successive defeats in recent weeks.

"It gives us the belief we can come back, but what kind of impact it will have on Chelsea, I do not know,'' said the Frenchman.

"It was a massive win for us. To lose would have put us 13 points away and that would have been too much. It was a test of character and we came here with perhaps not the needed level of confidence - but we have shown that we have character.

"We were unlucky to be 1-0 down at half-time and slowly moved on top and won the battle in the middle of the park. I am a very, very happy man tonight and we have now beaten Manchester United and Chelsea in convincing way.

"It is still hard [to win the title], but not impossible. Now it is down to our desire to win in the coming months. We are an intelligent team, but want to come back with humility, work hard and we have learned now we need focus in every game no matter who we play.''

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