José Mourinho claimed Arsenal's players "like to cry" after the hosts reacted furiously at the non-award of a penalty and the referee Mike Dean's decision not to dismiss Mikel John Obi for a foul on Mikel Arteta, as a goalless draw left the Premier League's top five teams separated by only two points.
Mikel had planted his boot into the inside of Arteta's right calf nine minutes before the interval, breaking his shin-pad in the process, with no card shown at the Nigerian for the offence. Within seconds Theo Walcott had tumbled over Willian's challenge and no penalty was awarded.
"You know, they like to cry," Mourinho said. "That's tradition. But I prefer to say, and I was telling it to the fourth official, that English people – Frank Lampard, for example – would never provoke a situation like that.
"Players from other countries, especially some countries, have that in their blood. So, if there is contact or an opponent is aggressive, they don't keep going. But this is English football. Foreign players are bringing lots of good things. They come here because they are talented. But I prefer English blood in football. English blood in this situation is: 'Come on, let's go.' Mikel's tackle is hard and aggressive but football is for men or for women with fantastic attitude. It's true."
The Chelsea manager added: "There are other sports without contact, fantastic sports which demand a lot from the players, and I respect those sports full of big champions. But [there is] no contact. Football is a game of contact. English football, winter, water on the pitch, sliding tackles at fantastic speed … Be proud. Play with pride. If you are hurt, OK, you are hurt. If you have pain … well, I have pain every day and I work every day."
Arsène Wenger, who has now failed to defeat Mourinho's teams in 10 matches in all competitions, disagreed over Mourinho's positive assessment of Dean's performance – "I don't think he had a great game at all," said the Frenchman – but was reluctant to respond to the Portuguese's comments about his players.
Arteta was more forthcoming. "I haven't seen the challenge from Mikel John Obi again but my ankle is swollen big time," he said. "He broke my shin-pad and he was late. The referee had to make the decision and he decided it wasn't a red card. Theo Walcott is saying that it was also 100% a penalty, so we were unlucky tonight."
Mourinho departed with the home crowd bellowing "boring, boring Chelsea" but, after recent defensive weakness, he gained encouragement from a clean sheet that kept the leaders only two points away. "Happy with the result? Not unhappy, I would say," he said. "We came to win, we wanted to win and it was very important not to lose because, if we did, we'd be five points behind the leader. Now we are two points behind both leaders, a completely different picture. So, I would say, we tried to win but we are not unhappy with a point."
The draw leaves Arsenal, the early-season pace-setters, without a win in four matches in all competitions before Thursday's visit to West Ham United.
"Look, it doesn't help," Wenger added. "But let's be serious: if I'd told you that we'd be [joint] top of the league at Christmas when we lost to Aston Villa, you'd have told me I was absolutely mad. We are where we are. The last few games have been difficult but we have played Everton, City and Chelsea.
"I feel we were a bit edgy because we conceded six at Manchester City and that played in our heads at the start. In the second half we took control of the game and had two or three chances where we could have done better, but the games we played at Napoli and City had a little weight in our heads. It's been difficult but we'll come through it."