Mourinho apologizes to referee following FA Cup victory

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho (C) and Didier Drogba (L) remonstrate with the fourth official.

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Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has sought to avoid renewed conflict with referees by making a public apology to Kevin Friend following his side’s 3-0 FA Cup victory over Watford.

Mourinho was contrite having used a television interview to criticise Friend’s failure to award a second-half penalty when defender Craig Cathcart handled the ball as he blocked a shot by Diego Costa.

However, following Cathcart’s intervention, the ball immediately fell to Loic Remy who drilled home for the second goal and Friend later told Mourinho he would have awarded a penalty had Remy missed.

The explanation resulted in a personal apology from the Portuguese, who has recently complained that Chelsea are the victims of a "clear campaign" orchestrated by coaches, pundits and media.

"I want to apologize for my earlier comments in some television (interviews). What the referee did was great refereeing," said Mourinho, who opened the post-match press conference by highlighting his own error.

"He saw that it was a penalty, he was going to give a penalty, but he saw the ball was going to Remy. And he waited a couple of seconds.

"He told me that if Remy didn’t control the ball well or the ball goes over the bar or the ball is lost, he would have given the penalty.

"I was complaining, but it was good refereeing by Kevin. I didn’t think it was a penalty, it was a penalty."

The half-time interval arrival of Willian and Costa was the catalyst for Chelsea to break the deadlock with Willian, Remy and Kurt Zouma on target to secure passage into the fourth round.

Mourinho announced that keeper Jamal Blackman had been recalled from his loan deal at Middlesbrough to cover for Mark Schwarzer’s departure for Leicester.