Chelsea accused Burnley of time-wasting and playing “anti-football” after Blues boss Maurizio Sarri was sent off before a touchline skirmish marred their frustrating 2-2 draw on Monday.
Sarri’s side fell behind to Jeff Hendrick’s fine finish before N’Golo Kante equalised moments later.In a frantic opening 24 minutes at Stamford Bridge, Gonzalo Higuain put Chelsea ahead, only for Burnley’s Ashley Barnes to punish more dismal defending from the Blues.
Chelsea would have gone third with a victory, but instead they have now played a game more than top four rivals Tottenham, Arsenal and Manchester United, who are three points behind in sixth.
It was a missed opportunity after defeats for Tottenham, Arsenal and United at the weekend and Chelsea were booed off at full-time.
In a fitting coda to a damaging evening, Sarri was sent to the stands for protesting in the final seconds before several members of the Blues bench were involved in a tetchy touchline clash with their Burnley counterparts.
Sarri’s assistant Gianfranco Zola said his boss was so “emotional” after the game that he couldn’t fulfil his media duties.
Zola took a swipe at Burnley’s perceived gamesmanship, which included Clarets keeper Tom Heaton being booked in the first half for time-wasting.Chelsea defender David Luiz went even further in his criticism of Burnley.
Adding to Sarri’s problems, he was hit by first half injuries to France midfielder Kante and England winger Callum Hudson-Odoi.
Brushing off the bench-clearing clash, Burnley boss Sean Dyche said: “By the time I turned round there was something going off in the tunnel.
Chelsea were stunned in the eighth minute when Hendrick’s rocket put Burnley ahead.
Eden Hazard’s majestic assist helped Chelsea draw level four minutes later, underlining why the club are so keen to keep their talisman out of Real Madrid’s clutches.