Refs' chief says sorry to Wigan for Chelsea 'robbery'
Published 16:52 10/04/12 By MirrorFootball
Wigan boss Roberto Martinez has received an apology from referees' chief Mike Riley following his side's controversial defeat at Chelsea on Saturday.
Martinez claimed his relegation-threatened side were "robbed" as Chelsea struck twice from apparently offside positions to secure a 2-1 Barclays Premier League win at Stamford Bridge.
The Spaniard has since spoken to Riley, of the Professional Game Match Officials Board, over the matter and says the body accept mistakes were made.
Martinez said: "He just said he understands that at the level of refereeing in this league, they should get that call right. I think that is a very honourable way to face mistakes.
"We are all capable of making mistakes and it is about how you react to them."
Martinez was strong in his criticism of the officials after the game, branding the performance of assistant Dave Bryan as "disgusting".
It has been suggested he could face action from the Football Association over his comments, but Martinez does not expect that to happen.
He said: "I think they praised me because they were quite surprised I held myself back and I was so respectful."
Bryan, who allowed goals for Branislav Ivanovic and Juan Mata to stand, has since been stood down from tonight's game between Blackburn and Liverpool.
Martinez said: "I think we all know mistakes happen, I am the first one to accept that. The problem is when you get two calls in two similar situations, and one of them is so clear, knowing the experience of the linesman - it is really tough to take.
"We are not looking to get people punished - anything retrospective to the event - but unfortunately we were stopped from getting the reward we deserved.
"It is a difficult place to go for a positive result. We need to accept on this occasion we weren't lucky enough to get the result. There were calls you expect to get right at our level."
Wigan, who remain in the bottom three, feel they have been on the wrong end of too many injustices this season.
Blackburn were awarded a goal against them in a 3-3 draw from a corner that was incorrectly taken in November and striker Conor Sammon was wrongly sent off in December's 5-0 loss to Manchester United. Latics successfully appealed against the Sammon dismissal.
Martinez said: "We have had that sense of injustice too many times this season. But you need to look deeper than the results.
"Psychologically a result at Stamford Bridge would have been fantastic but we can still see through it and look at the performance.
"I don't want it to come across that we are blaming the referee for our position - not at all.
"It was just hurtful to be on the back of two decisions at such a crucial time.
"I think it is more important for us to concentrate on the performance.
"If we carry on playing like that in the next six games, I am sure those points and moments of bad luck will turn around and go in our favour."
One incident Martinez does not appear overly concerned about now is an apparent punch by Ivanovic on Shaun Maloney in the build-up Chelsea's winning goal, which has been highlighted by TV.
He said: "As a player, if you do something wrong you should be punished at that moment.
"If you don't get caught at the moment, I don't think retrospective punishment is something that should be used."
Wigan face a daunting task as they return to action against United, the champions and league leaders, at home tomorrow.
Latics have a poor record against Sir Alex Ferguson's men having lost all 14 games they have played against them.
Martinez has been on the end of five of those defeats, his side conceding 21 goals in the process.
Martinez said: "The performances we have had at Anfield and Stamford Bridge this season have got rid of that block.
"Against Manchester United you have to be perfect and we know now we can be perfect against these sides. Mentally we are ready for that.
"We have been able to play at a very good standard in the last nine games and that is what pleases me most. That shows the group is ready to compete against anyone.
"We are now facing the champions and the team most in form in the league. It is a great football occasion for us, that is why we want to be in this league."