Taylor: Spotlight on Drogba

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PFA chief Gordon Taylor has warned Didier Drogba that he could be targeted by referees after the Chelsea striker found himself surrounded by controversy again at the weekend.

The Ivory Coast international was reportedly booed by his own fans for perceived simulation against Manchester City on Saturday, and was unrepentant about the blatant handball that enabled him to score his second of the game in the 2-0 victory.

Whilst Drogba has denied that he also admitted diving in the aftermath of Chelsea's win, he has been unable to deflect criticism of his style of play as English football witnesses a groundswell of support to address cheating in the professional game.

Drogba was also penalised for handball as he saw a goal disallowed against Fulham on March 19, and Taylor has warned the Blues star that he risks becoming a marked man by the game's referees if he does not change his ways.

"The spotlight is on him," Taylor told The Daily Mail.

"Referees are going to be looking out for him and if anything it might be counter productive.

"He's a big lad and, if he's not careful, he's going to get done even when he doesn't mean to do anything.

"There have been a number of incidents this season where, with particular players, there have been eyebrows raised as to the reaction to situations in a match.

"We are an entertainment industry and there's a difference between what lengths you go to win a game and playing it in the right spirit.

"Certain players are in danger of getting a reputation that will go before them and, as a result, they're going to leave themselves open to be done when maybe they're not guilty."

Taylor admitted he was more concerned with play-acting and attempts to get a fellow professional sent off than with Drogba's handball.

"I have looked at the second goal Drogba scored and it wasn't exactly a Maradona 'Hand of God'," said Taylor.

"It was really one for the match officials.

"This is not quite in the same category as players who roll over and feign injury outside the box to try and get players sent off, that's the thing we are trying to prioritise."

In a match that was not short of controversy Manchester City captain Sylvain Distin also was dismissed at half time for protesting to referee Rob Styles, and Taylor echoed Stuart Pearce's post-match comments in insisting the skipper should have the right to question the match official.

"As the captain of the team he is entitled to make his feelings felt so long as he does it in a reasonable manner, which is how it looked to me."