BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
JORGE JESUS insists Scottish referee Willie Collum was conned by Real Madrid star Mateo Kovacic, with the Sporting Lisbon boss ranting “fair play in football is bull****”.
Collum was the centre of attention on a tempestuous Champions League Tuesday at the Estadio Jose Alvalade, dishing out a red card to Sporting defender Joao Pereira for allegedly punching Kovacic in the stomach.
However, Jesus is adamant there was nothing untoward about the incident and accused the crafty Croatian of deceiving the referee and, in doing so, changing the course of the match.
And the experienced coach did not pull his punches after the match.
Jesus told local media: “Joao Pereira did nothing wrong. Kovacic was intelligent, I will say that, but talk about fair play in football is all bull****. It does not exist.
“Otherwise people would not do things like that. It was deception and he did it well – he got my player off the field. That is what football is really about, nothing to do with fair play.
“People cheat, but we do not, and I always tell my players that.
“The best teams get where they are because they are intelligent and exploit situations. Look at Kovacic, he was smart and his actions basically won the game.
“We exit the tournament with a feeling that we are good enough to compete – but maybe we need a couple of years to realise the realities of life at this level.”
Kovacic, however, defended his corner and insisted Collum got the big decision spot on.
The former Inter Milan playmaker hit back: “I was talking [to Pereira] and he punched me in the stomach. The red card was completely justified. It was his fault.”