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 apologized after the game. But I want, now, the police to find out who was the man who threw that. Which fan threw it.”
Drogba has until tomorrow 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 identical incident at Arsenal in 2002.
An FA statement said: “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 toward 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 similar 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 will be concerned that the absence of his talismanic forward could prove costly as Chelsea try to cement their place on top of the Premier League.