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Mar 25, 2010

Hughes hits out at 'useless' Mason

Portsmouth midfielder Richard Hughes has hit out at "useless" referee Lee Mason following an alleged elbow incident in the 5-0 defeat to Chelsea.

• Premier League round-up
• Portsmouth 0-5 Chelsea
Forum: Portsmouth Easter sale

Chelsea moved to within one point of Manchester United with a comfortable victory at Fratton Park, but there was controversy as Florent Malouda was only booked after he made contact with Ricardo Rocha, leaving the Pompey defender with a fractured cheekbone.

Hughes was also angry that Mason took no action when Daniel Sturridge left Tommy Smith with a broken nose, and felt the referee had failed to spot a foul on Jamie O'Hara in the build-up to the first goal.

"I was behind Malouda, but I presume he led with his arm and caught Ricardo," he told the News. "It looks like he has fractured his cheekbone. You don't get that without contact with an elbow.

"If you are not going to get sent off for fracturing a cheekbone with an elbow, you might as well scrap the rule of red cards for an elbow.

"I thought the referee was indifferent all night at best. Ultimately, the first goal was not his fault - but it was a ridiculous non-decision not to give the free kick.

"Tommy's was another decision. It wasn't an intentional collision, but it's a head injury right in front of the linesman. There were a lot of useless decisions like that.

"Major decisions went against us, but even without that I thought he (Mason) was useless all night."

Avram Grant did not attend the post-match press conference as he went to hospital to visit Rocha, but Carlo Ancelotti said he felt that incident had not warranted a red card.

"I saw what the referee saw. It was a challenge with two heads," Ancelotti said. "Malouda put his head to take the ball, and Rocha was unlucky. We're disappointed for him because he's injured, but Malouda did not mean to hurt him. It was an accident.

"The referee gave him a yellow card, which was right. Malouda put his head in, not his arm."

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