Chris Coleman says he would not dare try to stop winger Luis Boa Morte aggravating opponents.
The Fulham manager admitted his Portugal international often finds himself embroiled in on-field flashpoints but claimed it is not deliberate.
Boa Morte became entangled with Frank Sinclair off the ball in Fulham’s 2-0 win against Leicester on Saturday but also scored both goals, taking his Premiership tally to five from seven games.
Coleman believes that trying to alter the 26-year-old’s approach could reduce his contribution to the team. The manager said: “I would not dare try to change him. He is a pleasure to work with, is a lovely lad and has a good temperament. He gets through a lot of miles in a game and has been in good form this season.
“Sometimes he can wind-up the opposition but he is not nasty or vindictive. He wants to win and during the game he may come across as a wind-up merchant, but I don’t think he does it intentionally.
“Luis recently signed a new contract and I was delighted. The bottom line is that he is a good player and he is important to us. You cannot take anything away from the way he plays.
“He is exciting and tries to do things off the cuff. Now and again he gets in a bit of trouble but that is the way he is. If you try to change that then he would not be the same player.”
Boa Morte’s goalscoring form has been a major factor in Fulham’s good start to the season and Coleman believes his players are proving many critics wrong.
They are fourth in the Premiership but Coleman maintains that avoiding relegation is their main priority. He said: “Certain players in the dressing room will make sure I won’t have to mention keeping our feet on the floor.
“In the past, we’ve got carried away talking about Europe. We’ve got to get it through our heads we haven’t come that far yet. We’ve got to keep winning to make sure we’re not in the relegation shake-up in March.”