No need to punish Hazard further, Chelsea manager Benitez says

LONDON (AFP) - Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benitez believes Eden Hazard's three-game ban for kicking a ball boy in the League Cup semi-final at Swansea City is sufficient punishment.

Hazard was sent off for violent conduct following the incident in Wednesday's game at the Liberty Stadium, which saw him tussle with ball boy Charlie Morgan after the youngster refused to give him the ball.

His red card generated an automatic three-match suspension, but the Football Association said on Friday that such a punishment was "clearly insufficient" and hit him with an extra charge.

However, Benitez has hinted that any extra sanctions for the Belgian would provoke an appeal from his club. "At the moment, we will accept that three games is enough. So we will see what happens," he said, after Chelsea scraped a 2-2 draw at third-tier Brentford in the FA Cup on Saturday.

British media reports claim Chelsea are prepared to use video evidence to prove that Hazard was attempting to poke the ball out from beneath 17-year-old Morgan, rather than just kick him.

"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, a £32 million (S$62.4 million) close-season signing from Lille, sat out the first game of his suspension in the draw at Brentford.

Benitez added: "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." Chelsea and Swansea drew Wednesday's game 0-0, sending the Welsh club into the final with a 2-0 aggregate victory.

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