Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger does not want to see players protected so much by referees the game becomes “boring”, but maintains everyone must keep their eye on the ball.
The Gunners lost midfielder Abou Diaby to an ankle injury following what was a bad challenge from Bolton’s Paul Robinson during Saturday’s Barclays Premier League clash at Emirates Stadium – which went unpunished by referee Stuart Attwell, who had earlier sent off Gary Cahill.
Wenger accepts Arsenal will face a completely “different” style of refereeing when they start their Champions League campaign at home to Braga tomorrow night, with experienced Luxembourg official Alain Hamer in charge.
The French coach, now in his 14th season in charge of the Gunners, is a big fan of the unique hustle-and-bustle from domestic combat, but maintains there must be limits.
“I would say even the English referees are different when they have matches in Europe. There is less permissive on goalkeepers, on commitment,” Wenger said.
“But more protection can become boring as well – I have seen some countries when every little push or shoulder-to-shoulder is a foul and then it becomes boring because they interrupt the game too much.
“I prefer, by miles, the philosophy of the English game – but you need to know everyone goes for the ball and only the ball.”
Wenger, though, maintained there has to be restraint in challenges, however robust.
“I must say I love the way the English game is played in England and the one restriction has to be full commitment with the intention of going for the ball and only for the ball,” the Arsenal manager reflected.
“Then, I prefer English football 10 times as much to the European game.
“The English game becomes dangerous when the players go to hurt each other.”