Benitez: Three games enough for Hazard
Published 27/01/2013 | 16:45
Rafael Benitez has confirmed Chelsea would not accept an extended ban for Eden Hazard after breaking his silence on the Swansea ball-boy saga.
Two days after refusing to answer questions on Hazard's red card for kicking out at ball boy Charlie Morgan, Benitez insisted a three-game suspension was "enough" punishment for the offence. Friday afternoon saw the Football Association charge Hazard over the incident, stating the standard sanction for violent conduct was "clearly insufficient" in the Belgian's case.
Chelsea have still to decide whether to contest that charge but it is understood that they would have to do so to stand any realistic hope of avoiding being handed an additional ban. Interim Blues boss Benitez said: "At the moment, we will accept that three games is enough."
Anything over three matches would trigger an automatic appeal by the European champions and Benitez, speaking after the 2-2 FA Cup fourth-round draw at Brentford, added: "So we will see what happens."
Benitez claimed he was unaware whether the club would fight the charge, although it is understood they stand ready to use video evidence to show Hazard poked the ball from under Morgan in an attempt to retrieve it rather than simply kicking the 17-year-old during Wednesday's Capital One Cup semi-final second leg.
"I think that you have been watching the replay, different angles and everything," Benitez said.
"For a player that was in a cup competition, with this intensity and in the way that things are going on, I think that a three-game ban is enough."
Hazard served the first instalment of his automatic suspension at Griffin Park.
Benitez said: "I have a lot of images but I think that, for a professional, and for the club, we have already lost the player at the end of the game, we will lose the player at least for three games. I think it's enough."