Jose Mourinho has made the astonishing admission that Oscar told him he dived against Southampton because he was aware he could get goalkeeper Kelvin Davis sent off.
Mourinho applauded referee Martin Atkinson for booking the Chelsea star after their 3-0 win at St Mary’s, saying he hoped similar decisions would take place elsewhere in an attempt to kill play-acting in English football.
However, Mourinho’s revelation that Oscar actively thought about getting Davis sent off is unlikely to endear the Brazilian to any of his fellow pros. Neil Ashton of the Daily Mail provides the Chelsea boss’ comments:
His (Oscar’s) explanation to me I accept because he says to me ‘when I see the goalkeeper coming I think penalty, red card, goodbye.'
And the goalkeeper, in the middle of his movement, he is a 36-year-old man, perhaps lots of experience and thought I’m going to stop.
Oscar found himself in a moment of contradiction and he found himself, in fractions of sections, where he thinks 'contact, penalty, red card' and suddenly no contact and so he tries to touch the ball.
Oscar’s dive was one of the more incredible acts of simulation seen in the Premier League this season. Having successfully beaten Davis to the ball, he opted to dive rather than simply knock the ball into an empty net.
Former Liverpool and England striker Stan Collymore was one of many to question his motives:
Oscar. Why? Dive first shoot/score second. Bizarre.— Stan Collymore (@StanCollymore) January 1, 2014
The Brazilian’s logic behind his fall, although utterly cynical, was correct. Had Atkinson fallen for the dive, Davis would have been sent off and Chelsea would have had the chance to score from the spot.
Was Oscar's dive the worst of the season?
However, there is an unwritten rule in football that players don’t actively try to get their fellow pros sent off. It is for that very reason that the act of flashing an imaginary card to the referee is so heavily berated in England.
For Oscar to admit that he thought about earning Davis the red card shows a surprisingly distrustful edge to a player who has often lit up the Premier League with his array of skills this season.
It is also an embarrassing incident for Mourinho to deal with after he attacked Luis Suarez following Chelsea’s recent 2-1 win over Liverpool.
The Portuguese accused Suarez of a “swimming pool jump” following a foul by Samuel Eto’o, per Dominic Fifield of the Guardian, but the Liverpool man had far more reason to hit the deck than Oscar did at Southampton.
However, with Chelsea two points off top spot in the league and showing signs of a maintained title challenge, Oscar’s act provides an eye-opener that Mourinho’s men might be ready to try anything and everything to be named champions this season.