Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini insisted he is not a “dirty player” as he responded to criticism following two elbowing incidents against Liverpool.
Fellaini was singled out during United’s 3-1 aggregate defeat to Liverpool in the Europa League last 16, after appearing to elbow Emre Can in the first leg at Anfield.
The towering Belgium international then caught Dejan Lovren in the return leg on Thursday, leading to a yellow card and former referee Howard Webb labelling him a “thug”.
However, Fellaini said he “never wants to injure a player”.
“I am not like that,” Fellaini told BBC Sport. “If you want to win the game, you have to be aggressive.
“I don’t want to elbow someone, I just defend myself. I am physical.
“I like to win my challenge. That’s English football as well, but I am not a dirty player.”
Fellaini, who has been sent off twice since swapping Everton for Old Trafford in 2013, will turn his attention to Sunday’s must-win Premier League derby at Manchester City.
United are sixth in the table, four points adrift of City, who occupy the fourth and final Champions League qualification spot.
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