Carlo Ancelotti today insisted Ashley Cole did not deserve to be sacked by Chelsea for accidentally shooting a work placement student.
The Blues yesterday announced "appropriate action" was being taken against Cole, who last Sunday wounded 21-year-old Tom Cowan with a .22 air rifle at the club's Cobham training ground.
Surrey Police revealed last night they would speak to officials from Chelsea in the coming days to determine whether any criminal offence had been committed.
Cole, who reportedly did not know the rifle was loaded when he fired at Cowan, looks to have already been punished by his club, although Ancelotti refused to reveal the precise nature of the sanction this afternoon.
A fine looks the most likely option, with Ancelotti ruling out a suspension by confirming the 30-year-old would start tomorrow's Barclays Premier League game against Manchester United.
It was pointed out to Ancelotti that simply bringing a weapon to work is a sackable offence in many jobs, never mind brandishing it.
But he was adamant such drastic action was not warranted in Cole's case, claiming there was "no way" he would have considered it.
He added: "He always had very good behaviour here.
"Now, we have to move on.
"Who didn't make a mistake in his life?"
Revealing he had no idea Cole had brought the rifle to the training ground, he said: "The mistake was that the gun was here in Cobham.
"We didn't know the gun was here."
Pressed further on whether Cole's case proved modern players wielded too much power, Ancelotti was unequivocal.
"They have no power," he said.
Despite his manager's protests of "good behaviour", the air rifle incident is not the first time Cole or his Chelsea team-mates have hit the headlines for the wrong reasons.
But Ancelotti denied his players were a law unto themselves, saying: "Cobham is not out of control. At Cobham, there is discipline.
"If a player steps over the line, we will take a decision.
"Nobody can say here it is out of control."
And although Cole is at the centre of the current storm, Ancelotti was confident the England left-back was in the right frame of mind to start against United tomorrow.
"He will play tomorrow, yes," said the Italian.
"Obviously, we are not happy with what happened.
"But I have spoken with him.
"He was very disappointed with this, and said sorry.
"It was an accident.
"We have taken proper action but tomorrow he will play."
Cole has been criticised for not issuing a public apology but Ancelotti confirmed the player had done so in private.
He said: "First, he said sorry to the guy that was involved in this, second sorry to his team-mates, third sorry to the club."
Sports sciences student Cowan, who is on a one-year work placement, was reportedly hit in the side by a lead pellet, with his bleeding wound treated by the club's medical staff.
He did not require hospital attention and appears to have made no formal complaint to the police, who today confirmed they were still planning to contact Chelsea over the matter.
Despite taking place last Sunday, the incident only came to light a week later, suggesting the club had been keen to deal with it privately.Reuse content