John Arne Riise responded angrily to Arsene Wenger’s accusations that Fulham players tried to get Johan Djorou sent off in yesterday’s London derby.
The Swiss defender was dismissed for two bookable offences, the second when he pulled down Bobby Zamora as the Fulham striker was bearing down on goal. Djorou might have been sent off earlier, having crudely halted a Kerim Frei run with a late tackle. Wenger accused the Swiss teenager of trying to get his full-back red carded afterwards but Riise felt that was a suggestion too far from the Arsenal manager.
We would never do that. What we do, we know people are strong like Kerim and give him the ball, make him go one against one and see what he can do. That’s a tactic but we never go out and get people sent off. That’s not fair play and we never do that. He should have been yellow carded for a tackle before that. I think he had three tackles in quite a short time. It was the right decision.
I think before the sending off we played well, pushed them but we couldn’t get the goals. When they lose a man, you know it is going to be hard for them and you get the extra energy to push on again.
The team spirit is very high. We played okay in the first half as well and had a few chances but gave them too much space on the counter attack but in the second half we decided to be more compact. We knew fitness would play a part in the game. We have a fit squad and we like to work hard and we proved in the second half that we were a little bit stronger at the end.
We were disappointed and a little embarrassed at how we played against United but we showed a lot of character to bounce back to draw against Chelsea and now we beat Arsenal. We worked hard and we are extremely happy – people are looking forward to some days off now.