Champions League

Drogba no cheat - Pique

2012-04-23 20:06
Didier Drogba (File)

Barcelona - Barcelona defender Gerard Pique leapt to the defence of Chelsea striker Didier Drogba here on Monday, denying the Ivorian had "cheated" during last week's Champions League semi-final clash.

Drogba's conduct during Chelsea's 1-0 win at Stamford Bridge has attracted a storm of criticism in England, with the 34-year-old accused of repeatedly feigning injury to disrupt Barcelona's rhythm.

However, the two-time former African Footballer of the Year received staunch support from centre-half Pique, who said he had no doubts about the Ivorian's integrity.

"Every time a player goes down and complains I believe he has been hurt," Pique said. "I trust the player every time he goes down. I don't think he's been criticised. I believe in Drogba, I believe in his honesty.

"I think every time he goes down it's because he's in pain or he felt a kick. I don't think that Drogba is trying to act or dive. I don't think so. Because he's not like that."

Pique, who did not play in the first leg and also missed Barcelona's 'Clasico' defeat to Real Madrid on Saturday, said he is confident the Spaniards could overturn their first leg deficit.

"We have to play our game and play 90 minutes with the ball. We will have our chances. I don't know if we will score or not but we will have to work hard to find the chances," he said.

"If we have 70 percent possession like we've had in the last few days and years I think we will have opportunities to get to the final.

"It's hard to play against Chelsea because they are strong, really competitive, they know how to play these games because they have a lot of experience.

"It's always difficult when you play against guys like (Frank) Lampard, (Didier) Drogba - these kind of players have a lot of games in their legs and they know what they are doing."

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