David Luiz is adamant football should remain a contact sport and players do not need more protection from referees, rules or VAR.
The Arsenal defender was talking at the end of a week when his Liverpool counterpart Virgil van Dijk was ruled out for a lengthy period following a challenge by Everton keeper Jordan Pickford last weekend.
Luiz lines up in Sunday’s late kick off against Leicester ready to risk injury as part of the perils of his profession.
‘It’s a game with contact,’ he said. ‘This is football and it’s always going to be like that.’
While he was not directly referring to the Van Dijk incident, the Brazil international says players know whether or not there is intent to cause hurt.
He added: ‘When a player goes to try to make someone bad, or do something bad, we can see. It’s part of our job and sometimes we are unlucky with some balls and you can get injured ourselves or hurt someone but you must say ‘I’m sorry’, be humble, and keep going. If you really mean that, everybody will see.
‘But the most important thing is we have to protect football. Football is made to make people happy, to play football like that, but also to understand some contact exists and that it’s part of the game.’
The former Chelsea star and his Arsenal team-mates have been criticised for some erratic defending in the past few seasons, but they went into the weekend with the second best defensive record in the top flight this season, behind top of the table Aston Villa.
That is some feat in a season when it has rained goals – and they have already played tough away fixtures at Liverpool and Manchester City.
Luiz said how the improvement is down to manager Mikel Arteta’s tactics. He explained: ‘We have a great mentality with Mikel in this way. When we have the ball, we try to enjoy ourselves as much as possible and when we don’t have the ball we try to regain it.
‘The first defenders are the strikers — They have to do their job, pressing in the right way, and this makes things much easier for us.
‘It’s not just about defending the last line with the keepers it’s about the whole team working together with fight and commitment.
‘We are working hard, we understand what Mikel wants from us, and we know how we want to play and we have the right mentality and attitude. We want to achieve.’
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