Chelsea’s Nemanja Matic has finally responded to that all-important incident against Burnley a few weeks back. The tackle involving Sean Dyche’s Ashley Barnes not only saw the Serb nearly end up with a broken leg, but it also cost the in-form midfield enforcer his place in the Carling Cup final after subsequently getting sent off for his reaction.
According to the Sunday Times, Matic has revealed that he is a ‘happy man’ just to be able to walk.
The offender – Burnley’s Ashley Barnes – has apparently laughed off Jose Mourinho’s recent labeling of his role in the incident as ‘criminal’ however;
Speaking as a result of the criticism, Barnes has been quick to defend his position;
“You’re always going to get people who come out of the woodwork and voice their opinion. There were lots of comments made that it was a ‘criminal tackle’ and that it was disgusting but you just have to laugh it off really.
“Obviously I’ve not meant it. I give my all for the team but I’m an honest player. As I’ve gone to pass the ball he’s come to try and screen in front of the strikers. I’ve took a heavy touch and as I’ve gone to pass to Jonesy (Dave Jones) I’ve caught him on the shin with the follow through of the pass.”
The Claret’s striker may therefore have had honest intentions all along regarding the recent incident, but as this season has been a particularly controversial campaign for refereeing decisions such as the one to send Matic off for his reaction to the tackle, Barnes nonetheless becomes the latest in a long line of Premier League players to evoke English officials into making some rather ambiguous calls.
As Nemanja Matic seems to have come away from the whole event not too worse for wear however – despite embarrassingly injuring himself in Chelsea’s post-Carling Cup final celebrations – hopefully such talk of ‘criminal’ behaviour can now be well and truly swept aside.