London: Chelsea were left seething after midfielder Nemanja Matic`s suspension was cut from three matches to two by the FA on Tuesday, meaning he will miss Sunday`s League Cup final against Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley.
Under a headline saying they were appalled, the London club added in a statement: "The Chelsea Football Club board is extremely disappointed and frustrated the regulatory commission has decided not to reduce Matic`s suspension to the maximum extent permitted."
The Serbian international received his ban after being sent off for pushing Ashley Barnes to the ground after the Burnley striker`s dangerous studs-up challenge in Saturday`s 1-1 Premier League draw at Stamford Bridge.
"There has been universal condemnation of the reckless challenge made by Ashley Barnes on Matic and it is the club’s view he has been unjustly punished with a two-match ban for his reaction to a career-threatening tackle," Chelsea said.
Roger Burden, chairman of the regulatory commission, explained why the FA rejected Matic`s appeal.
"The violent response to the nature of the tackle cannot be condoned and does not vindicate his subsequent actions," Burden said.
"The members of the commission did, however, accept the mitigation in respect of the level of force used by Mr Matic and the nature of the contact he made with Mr Barnes.
"Having made those considerations we determined the standard punishment of a three-match suspension would be clearly excessive and, therefore, ordered the suspension be reduced to two matches."
Chelsea responded by saying the decision demonstrated a need for consistency and fairness in the disciplinary process.
"It is Chelsea`s opinion that referees and the football authorities must do more to protect players at all levels of the game from dangerous challenges," the Premier League leaders said.
Chelsea added that they would await the FA`s written reasons before commenting further.