Chelsea boss Ancelotti queries Michael Essien red card
Ancelotti expresses doubts over Essien sending off
Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti defended Michael Essien after his straight red for a two-footed challenge on Clint Dempsey in the 1-0 win over Fulham.
"I don't like to judge the decision," said the Italian. "But I can say that maybe it was not a red card because he made a strong tackle, but on the ball.
"There was not a risk on the opponent. I think Essien went for the ball."
However, Fulham manager Mark Hughes said: "The guy has jumped in with two feet, so it's a straight red."
Essien was making his return to the Chelsea side after two games out with a toe injury, one of which was last Sunday's 2-0 defeat at Liverpool.
It appeared as though all was going to plan, with his 30th-minute header setting the Blues on course to a deserved victory that takes them four points clear of Manchester United at the top of the Premier League.
I'm pleased we responded in that second half. I've been to games here where teams have gone under very quickly because they didn't show the qualities needed. My team did show that quality
Fulham boss Mark Hughes
However, the midfielder went from hero to villain in the fifth and final minute of injury time when he leapt two-footed into a tackle with Dempsey that saw him win the ball, but was deemed dangerous enough to warrant instant dismissal by referee Martin Atkinson.
"He tried to do a tackle, and he won it," said Ancelotti. "I'm not sure it was a sending off. We have to wait. I want to watch the replay before doing anything."
Despite the sour end to the game, the Italian declared himself pleased with his side's display that earned them important points as Manchester United were drawing 0-0 with local rivals Manchester City.
"It was a good performance," said Ancelotti. "We started well from the beginning with a high tempo during the game.
"The first half was very good and we had good control in the second half. We had a little problem at the end, but this is normal.
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