Chelsea and England captain John Terry is backing striker Didier Drogba even though the Ivorian striker is under-fire for his post-match confrontation with referee Tom Henning following Chelsea’s Champions League exit at the hands of Barcelona.
Terry slammed the Norwegian referee and accused UEFA of making a mistake by appointing Henning to the semifinal second leg. Chelsea looked to have set-up a repeat of last year’s Champions League final against Manchester United when Michael Essien put them in front with a 20-yard volley in the ninth minute. The Blues were on the brink of celebrating their second successive final until Andres Iniesta lashed a 93rd minute equaliser beyond Petr Cech with Barcelona’s first shot on target. The vital away goal put Barcelona in the final in Rome on May 27 but Henning’s performance left Terry and his Chelsea team-mates fuming. The Norwegian had refused to award Chelsea two spot-kicks in the first half when Florent Malouda and Drogba were brought down. Then, in the second half, he turned down two handball penalty appeals after Gerard Pique handled as Nicolas Anelka tried to go past him and in the final seconds, after Iniesta’s leveller, Michael Ballack’s shot hit Samuel Eto’o’s arm. Ballack was so incensed he protested alongside the referee for 40 yards before getting a yellow card. CNN’s Pedro Pinto: “Barcelona deserved to win” – do you agree Drogba, who had been substituted in the second half, then confronted the official after the game and received a yellow card for his protest before yelling an obscenity straight at the TV cameras. “I am fully behind Didier Drogba for the way he reacted,” Terry told British media afterwards. “The man wants to win. You can see the passion that he played with during the game and the passion afterwards.
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“It is difficult when players are so high on emotions after the game and people were saying in the TV studios that we shouldn’t be reacting the way we did. “That’s impossible after having six or seven decisions go against you at home in front of your own fans. I’ve seen them all and two were clear penalties and you don’t get one. How are you supposed to feel “It’s a shambles really. Players dream of playing in these finals but we can’t through bad refereeing. We get a referee who has refereed 10 Champions League games in his career and for him to be given the semifinal at Stamford Bridge is not good enough. “If a referee makes bad decisions, he should face the consequences. If a player makes mistakes time after time, he will be dropped from the team, but referees just keep getting the big games at big stadiums. “It is down to UEFA to be strong enough and say these are our four best referees and they are going to referee the home and away legs. “Both sides had experienced players but we just didn’t have the referee to go with a big game. If we had been given one of those penalties we would have been cruising at 2-0. We did exactly what the manager asked of us but we are not going through because of a bad refereeing decision.
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“Not one player made a mistake over the two legs but we come away with a referee making four or five big errors and now we are out of the competition. Maybe that referee would have been good enough in the group stages of the Champions League but on a big stage, with a big game and big players, he simply wasn’t good enough.” Chelsea still have the FA Cup final against Everton to look forward to on May 30 at Wembley but Terry says the build-up will be tarnished by the Champions League showdown three days earlier in Rome. “We will be watching that final three days before and thinking we should have been there,” added Terry. “We are delighted to be in the FA Cup final and want to make sure we secure third place in the league.”