Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini hits back at critics, insists he's no 'thug'
- The Belgian was called a 'thug' by ex-referee Howard Webb
Marouane Fellaini has hit out at his critics, who have castigated the Belgian international for his physical style of play. The Manchester United midfielder has been in the spotlight recently for a couple of unpunished elbows, but defended his actions, claiming he wasn’t a ‘dirty player’.
In an interview with BBC television programme Football Focus, Fellaini gave vent to his feelings noting that his actions on the pitch are first a foremost a defensive one, saying “I don't want to elbow someone, I just defend myself. OK, I am physical, I like to win my challenge but I am not a dirty player.”
Fellaini was brought to English shores by David Moyes for Everton and the Belgian has thrived in the Premier League’s physical environment, using that as a justification for his actions, saying “I like to win my challenge when I play a game. In England there are a lot of physical challenges so if you want to win the game you have to be aggressive and win your challenge.”
Fellaini has faced much criticism from Manchester United fans ever since the midfielder’s big money move from Everton on deadline day in 2013. His rather uncultured style of play is in sharp contrast with that of United legends such as Paul Scholes who have occupied the centre of midfield, although most would wilt under such expectations.
However, Fellaini’s physical actions came into the spotlight in the Europa League clash against Liverpool. The midfielder escaped censure despite elbowing Emre Can in the first leg, with former refere Howard Webb critical of his actions, saying “It's one thing imposing yourself on the game, but another thing being a thug on the pitch.”
Fellaini amplified the spotlight on his actions by being booked for an elbow on Dejan Lovren, but Webb opined that he should have been sent off, saying “This one's a red card. Dejan Lovren is holding him -- is that an excuse to throw an arm? No, of course not. He clenches his fist, he puts force into the elbow, the point of the elbow into the back of the head, and he should have been sent off.”
The Belgian however, is still defensive, saying “I never want to injure a player or to be bad, I am not like that, I just defend myself.”
Here is the footage of Fellaini defending himself:Published 20 Mar 2016, 12:57 IST