Drogba sometimes a victim, says Mourinho

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The Independent Football

Jose Mourinho has defended his striker Didier Drogba over the diving issue that has left Chelsea in the middle of yet another controversy. Drogba revealed in a post-match interview he had conned referees by diving before later retracting his admission.

The Football Association has yet to decide what, if any, action it will take over the Ivory Coast striker's remarks, but in the mean time, Mourinho has leapt to his defence.

Drogba has attracted criticism this season, being accused of feigning injury to try to get other players booked or sent off. The striker scored both goals in the 2-0 win over Manchester City at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, but the ball was unlawfully brought under control with the help of his hand when he scored the second. But the diving issue surfaced again when Drogba went down clutching his eye after a challenge.

However, the Chelsea coach insists Drogba is not a diver. "It was a big thing - it was a finger very strong in his eye which was completely full of blood," Mourinho declared. "Of course he is not blind, but it was something serious. The referee saw it as an accident and I accept that.

"Sometimes he is a player who does not get what he deserves. I am happy with him and we are happy to have a professional like him. Players are not just about the skilful and beautiful ones who play for the stands. He is the kind of player I would say, 'With you I could go to every war'. He is a very important player for us."

Drogba, already under fire for two handball incidents in consecutive Premiership games, sparked further fury after the game when he admitted conning officials by diving, before backtracking.

Drogba explained: "Unfortunately, in the emotion of winning the game my comments have come across partly in the wrong way. I want to make it clear that I don't dive, this was the intention of my answer."

Drogba received support from an unlikely source, the Arsenal manager, Arsène Wenger. "Drogba is a bit under the spotlight for obvious reasons, but overall I like his attitude," Wenger said. "He is not an unfair player. He makes sometimes more of it, like many strikers do, but he is maybe pushed or pulled when nobody sees it - defenders cheat on strikers as well."