Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has defended his criticism of Stoke City defender Ryan Shawcross.
The Gunners coach was furious last weekend after midfielder Aaron Ramsey suffered a fractured tibia and fibula following a Shawcross tackle.
Wenger described the challenge as ‘horrendous and unacceptable’ and stands by his comments, although he does acknowledge that the physical nature of the Premier League is part of its appeal.
“I stand by what I said 100%,” Wenger declared ahead of Saturday’s meeting with Burnley. “I knew exactly what would happen the whole week, that was quite easy to predict.”
Wenger continued: “I am sitting here like I am in a tribunal. What do I have to defend? Is it a football game or something else?
“I can understand people want to be committed against us, and I have no problem with that.
“I love the commitment of the English game. I don’t want to change that and it makes the game even more attractive, but high commitment demands fair intention as well.”
Wenger added: “I admire a great technical tackle as much as a creative pass.
“A tackle is an art in itself, that means you always have your eye on the ball, never with a high foot, in your tackle you can already make a pass.
“To close your eyes and go in too physical, that does not mean it is intention, but there is danger.
“Tackling is an art you do not want to get out of the game.
“We have some good tacklers in this league, some who are not good, but that does not mean you go into it trying to break a leg.
“It is not Arsenal against the rest of the world. What I say here is valid for the Arsenal players as well.
“I want the Arsenal players to go into the tackles like everybody else, to go into the tackles and be committed.
“What I say it not just for Stoke or Arsenal players, it is for everybody. I defend football.
“It is not that we are apart from anybody else. We are the same. I am continuing to defend the values that I believe are important for our club and football.
“That doesn’t mean we are angels and everyone else is the devil. It is for everybody.”
Wenger insisted there was no point in continuing to debate the incident.
“I believe that on our side we have made one decision to support Aaron Ramsey as much as we can and then continue to promote the values that are important for the club and football,” he said.
“All the rest is to go into unneeded controversy. I don’t see how that can help football or Aaron Ramsey.
“It is important to focus on the future, help Aaron Ramsey and let people talk.”