Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini has defended himself after being called a “thug”.
Former referee Howard Webb made his comments after the Belgian came close to red cards in both legs of the Europa League tie with Liverpool.
The 28-year-old escaped a UEFA ban for appearing to strike Emre Can in the closing seconds at Anfield during the first leg, and on Thursday, Fellaini connected with the back of Dejan Lovren’s head as they contested a header.
Webb was disappointed by Fellaini’s actions and branded him a “thug”. However, the midfielder accepts he is physical but insists he is not dirty and that the English game demands it.
“I don’t want to elbow someone, I just defend myself,” Fellaini said to BBC’s Football Focus. “I am physical. I like to win my challenge. That’s English football as well, but I am not a dirty player.”
The 28-year-old has been shown just two red cards since playing at Old Trafford, while providing nine goals and six assists in 80 appearences for the club. However, he’s been heavily criticised for his poor performances this season, with his physical play adding to it all.
Fellaini joined the Red Devils during the 2013 winter transfer window from Everton, as United payed £24.30 million for the Belgium international.