Robson warns Barca to beware Chelsea ‘acting’

West Brom boss Bryan Robson has warned Barcelona to be prepared for the play-acting of Chelsea striker Didier Drogba in Tuesday’s Champions League clash.

Jose Mourinho will take his side into their biggest game of the season in the Camp Nou with stinging criticism from Robson ringing in his ears after his 100th match in charge of Chelsea ended in acrimony.

The 2-1 victory at The Hawthorns moved Chelsea another step closer to retaining their title but did little to enhance their reputation.

As well as having Arjen Robben sent off for a two-footed lunge at Jonathan Greening, the champions were accused of gamesmanship by Robson, who also branded Drogba a diver who feigns injury.

The match ended with Mourinho storming out of The Hawthorns, snubbing both the media and Robson’s offer of a post-match drink.

Robson, a former England captain, had been involved in several heated touchline exchanges with Mourinho, having initially been infuriated by the late appearance of several Chelsea players for the second half of a match which had been finely balanced over the opening period.

Robson went on to accuse Drogba of attempting to get Greening sent off shortly after Robben had received his second red card in six matches, which will almost certainly earn him a three-match ban.

The West Brom manager stormed: ”It was a blatant dive by Drogba. He was rolling around and feigning injury in an effort to even things up and fortunately the referee did not buy it.

”I thought Robben was a little unlucky to be sent off. If I had been playing in the game I would not have been happy with a decision like that.

”But what Drogba did was not acceptable. Jonathan Greening did not touch him and the way he reacted was not good. Jose did not see it that way and that is why we had a difference of opinion.”

Mourinho had to be restrained by police and stewards in the technical area as he reacted to Greening’s challenge on Drogba, who had earlier scored his ninth goal of the season to set Mourinho on course for his 72nd victory since taking charge at Stamford Bridge.

Joe Cole, who was left on the substitutes bench for 60 minutes, emerged to score his ninth goal of the season to make the game safe before Nigerian playmaker Nwankwo Kanu scored a late consolation effort for West Brom.

Chelsea could find themselves in trouble for holding up the re-start of the game by around three minutes as William Gallas and Drogba were late taking the field after a half-time dressing down from Mourinho.

”I don’t think it influenced the game, but the referee should have started the match without them,” Robson insisted.

He added: ”Jose Mourinho does not wind me up. He is a good coach and he has done a fantastic job at Chelsea, but the bell had been rung several times and there is no excuse for players not taking the field. All my players were ready to start the second half.”

Chelsea were without Frank Lampard because of the hamstring injury that kept him out of England’s win over Uruguay last week, but he is expected to play against Barcelona.

Claude Makalele should also be fit, despite suffering a nasty blow to his right ankle, after a late tackle by Ronnie Wallwork.

Robson insisted he did not have any long-term problems with Mourinho.

”I have invited him and his staff in after the game for a glass of wine. I have no qualms about it,” said Robson. ”That’s it as far as I’m concerned.

”He is a very good coach and is doing a fantastic job at Chelsea. They grind out results. He hasn’t wound me up, my team wound me up.” – AFP



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