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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 November 2006, 08:44 GMT
O'Neill blasts Chelsea ref claim
Martin O'Neill and Jose Mourinho
O'Neill, left, insists Jose Mourinho's Chelsea still get 'big' decisions
Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill has laughed off suggestions that Chelsea are being treated harshly by officials.

Villa face the Blues in the Carling Cup on Wednesday three days after the champions' 2-1 defeat to Spurs led to a row over referee Graham Poll's display.

The Football Association is looking into claims from Chelsea that Poll said he wanted to "teach Chelsea a lesson".

But O'Neill said: "Are Chelsea harshly treated? No. Referees are not setting out with a vendetta towards Chelsea."

And the Northern Irishman dismissed suggestions from Blues boss Jose Mourinho that Poll's performance in the match against Spurs and Chelsea's 1-1 draw with Villa in September cost his side five points.

"If he analysed the match we played at Stamford Bridge, I don't think the ref was the cause of them dropping the two points that particular day. That I can guarantee," he said.

Big clubs do get the decisions. I'm not moaning about that

Martin O'Neill

"In fact Graham Poll could have sent off one of their players for the challenge on Juan Pablo Angel where he was the last man.

"So I am not so sure about him saying Graham Poll has cost them five points. Big clubs do get the decisions - I'm not moaning about that. I just want to make Aston Villa a big side so that we get them too.

"Everyone used to talk about Sir Alex Ferguson and his time-keeping and now the emphasis has shifted on to Chelsea."

And O'Neill urged the officials to guard against leniency when Chelsea host Villa on Wednesday.

"Sometimes there is a view that if you are trying to highlight something to a referee a day or two before the next game, you are inclined to try to put that pressure onto the referee for the next game.

"I wouldn't want the ref to feel that, because Chelsea feel they have been harshly treated in a previous game, that they start to become lenient.

"You referee the game as you see it. If their best is as genuine as they can do, then I don't think you should have any severe criticism of them."

SEE ALSO
Chelsea v Aston Villa
07 Nov 06 |  League Cup
FA investigates Cole ref claims
07 Nov 06 |  Football
Tottenham 2-1 Chelsea
05 Nov 06 |  Premiership
Chelsea 1-1 Aston Villa
30 Sep 06 |  Premiership


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