Manchester United midfielder Maroaune Fellaini has defended his controversial physical style, insisting he is “not a dirty player”.
Fellaini, who recently served a three-match ban for elbowing Robert Huth in the face after the Leicester defender pulled his hair, has cut a contentious figure in the Premier League since joining Everton in 2008.
The Belgian is a rather elbowy gentleman, often using his arms as leverage in aerial battles, and sometimes just deciding that a quick forearm in the face is the best solution to life’s problems.
Jamie Carragher even said earlier this month that he wishes Fellaini would never feature in the Premier League again, while the player also topped a fans poll about which player Manchester United most wanted to see leave.
Speaking to the Daily Mirror, the midfielder insists he is not the one to blame.
“I know when I do bad and good. I’m not a dirty player. People can think whatever they want,” Fellaini said.
“I never injured a player. Never. I just react. Maybe sometimes I am impulsive, I say that. It’s my character. But when someone pulls your hair, it’s normal to react.
“For this situation I don’t deserve to be punished. Huth grabbed my hair, he made pain on my neck, so I just react.
“Come on! If someone grabs your hair, you will react the same. The managers, the players, the staff the club, everyone knows it was a normal reaction. That’s why my team-mates and the manager were not angry with me.”
Manager Louis van Gaal defended his midfielder after the incident with Huth, claiming that hair-pulling is only allowed in “sex masochism“.
“I saw that. It made me laugh. And he is right,” said Fellaini.
“It’s difficult sometimes. That’s the Premier League, a lot of duels, a lot of contact, a lot of challenges. It’s normal. But this time, no, I don’t deserve this punishment.
“That’s why I am sad.
“I didn’t deserve that. Three matches, it’s a lot. He grabbed my hair.”