Carlo Ancelotti has hit out at those demanding Chelsea throw the book at Ashley Cole for accidentally shooting a work placement student by saying: "What do we have to do now - kill him?"
Cole appears to have escaped what might have been a more severe punishment by his club for wounding 21-year-old Tom Cowan with a .22 air rifle at the club's Cobham training ground last Sunday. Surrey Police are continuing their enquiries to determine whether a criminal offence had taken place, but as far as manager Ancelotti is concerned, the matter is closed.
"What do we have to do now - kill him?" Ancelotti said of Cole, who reportedly did not know the rifle was loaded and has apologised to both Cowan and the club. "No. We have to support him."
He added: "It would be very different if he had not said sorry. We are really disappointed for the guy who was involved and was a victim of this."
Cole broke club rules banning weapons from Chelsea's training ground. It is not the first time the 30-year-old's behaviour has landed him in trouble, with the left-back also having been investigated by club officials after allegations arising from a pre-season US tour in 2009.
Ancelotti claimed sacking Cole had never crossed his mind, insisting the player had otherwise been a model professional.
Refusing to reveal the precise nature of the punishment meted out to Cole, Ancelotti said: "He made a mistake last week. Two years ago, he made a mistake. This is true. But when I talk about professionals, I'm talking about things on the training pitch."
Ancelotti, who admitted being angered by the shooting, revealed he had no idea Cole had brought the weapon to work but was still prepared to shoulder some of the responsibility as his manager.
The England full-back has not been the only Chelsea player to make headlines for the wrong reasons but Ancelotti maintained his only concern was their behaviour while under his jurisdiction.
Insisting he did not want to "control the players outside the training ground", he added: "If things happen in the training ground, mistakes, then I have to take action. To read that Cobham is out of control though is totally wrong. I've been a manager for 20 years and one of the most important things is discipline."