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Chelsea boss pleads for Drogba

SoccerNews in English Premier League 15 Nov 2008

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Luiz Felipe Scolari insists Didier Drogba shouldn’t be subjected to a public witch-hunt after the controversial Chelsea striker was hit with an FA charge.

Drogba faces a three-match ban for throwing a coin at Burnley supporters during Wednesday’s League Cup defeat at Stamford Bridge.

But Scolari believes Drogba, who is also being investigated by the Metropolitan Police, deserved to be given a chance to make amends for the incident because he was provoked by Burnley fans who bombarded him with missiles as he celebrated his first-half goal in front of the away end.

“Didier didn’t go out on to the pitch to fight, but to play. He didn’t put coins in his pocket. For people, for the police, for the FA, they have to think about this,” Scolari said.

“It wasn’t Didier who started it. He was happy to score a goal. He apologised after the game.

“But I want, now, the police to find out who was the man who threw that. Which fan threw it. After this, we’ll look at what happens.

“I’m not a judge. I’m not someone to say kill or not kill. I’m only the coach and I’ll receive the information from the police, the club, the FA. Whatever the FA or the police decide, that finishes it.”

Drogba has until Monday to respond to the charge but has little chance of escaping a ban when the case is heard on Tuesday as Liverpool’s Jamie Carragher served a three-match suspension for an indentical incident at Arsenal in 2002.

An FA statement confirmed: “Drogba is alleged to have thrown a missile into the away section of the crowd after scoring during the League Cup match at Stamford Bridge.

“Referee Keith Stroud confirmed to The FA that he had booked Drogba for going towards the opposition supporters to celebrate but that he had not seen the missile incident.”

Scolari is only too aware that thugs could try to incite Drogba into similiar clashes at Premier League grounds around the country and he pleaded with opposing supporters to set an example to the rest of the world.

“I saw things in Kuwait, in Saudi Arabia, in Germany, in Japan. There are problems all over the world. One crazy person goes to a game to fight,” Scolari said.

“I want to say to the fans, during the game they can support their different teams, but after the game it finishes. England can give this example to the world.”

With Drogba likely to be sidelined for several weeks, Scolari is concerned that the absence of his talismanic forward could prove costly as Chelsea try to cement their place on top of the Premier League.

Although Nicolas Anelka is the top-flight’s leading scorer with 11 goals, Scolari is growing increasingly frustrated with the way his players produced costly misses in defeats against Liverpol, Roma and Burnley.

“We’re still making mistakes in front of goal. If we score one or two goals, we win every time but most clubs won’t give us more than three or four opportunities,” Scolari said.

“The players are wrong and, sometimes, I’m wrong because I chose the wrong players. This is normal in life.

“The players need to improve and get better. That’s what we try to do every day here. Maybe, in the future, we will see more chances and more goals.

“It’s not a month’s project. I try, every day, for three hours with my staff to teach.

“I say ‘When you arrive in this position, you need to put your body here and shoot here’. But it’s not a job for one day. It’s for one year, two years, three years.”

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