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Fellaini: I am not a dirty player

SoccerBy Sunday World
Fellaini in action against Liverpool
Fellaini in action against Liverpool

Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini has defended himself in the wake of being branded a "thug" by former referee Howard Webb.

The 2010 World Cup referee was disappointed with Fellaini's actions in his side's Europa League defeat to Liverpool as he courted controversy in both legs for his overly physical approach.

In the first leg at Anfield he appeared to elbow Emre Can - though avoided any action from UEFA - and then in the second leg on Thursday he was booked for making contact with Dejan Lovren with a flailing arm.

The 28-year-old 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," he said in an interview with Football Focus. "Okay, I am physical, I like to win my challenge but I am not a dirty player.

"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.

"I never want to injure a player or to be bad, I am not like that, I just defend myself."