Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo on Friday defended Didier Drogba following criticism of the striker over his performance in their Champions League semi-final victory over Barcelona at stamford bridge
Drogba, who scored the only goal in Chelsea’s 1-0 win, was accused of repeatedly feigning injury as part of a deliberate strategy to unsettle the Spaniards in Wednesday’s first leg encounter at Stamford Bridge.
However Di Matteo said he had no plans to speak to Drogba about his conduct, insisting that Chelsea’s players were “fair” and that it was necessary to have a quiet word with the 34-year-old Ivory Coast striker.
“… I don’t see any reason why I should have a conversation like that,” Di Matteo told reporters.
“Our players, I think, are fair players. Everybody has his own style but I think we are a fair team.”
Di Matteo said Drogba — who is set to miss Saturday’s crucial Premier League game against Arsenal after picking up a knee injury against Barcelona — had received a “battering” from the Catalans.
“He was marked most of the time by two men and I think got a lot of physical battering as well on the night,” he said. “We have to be objective about our opinions as well.”
Di Matteo would not speculate on whether Drogba would recover in time for next Tuesday’s second leg in the Camp Nou.
“We have to assess him tomorrow and Sunday and how he recovers,” he said. “He got pushed and kicked around quite a lot in the game on Wednesday.”