Dutch winger wants more protection from referees in Premiership


NOORDWIJK (Holland): Chelsea and Dutch winger Arjen Robben believes players in the English Premier League should receive more protection from referees. 

“It is clear that there is more allowed on the pitch in England,” the Dutch international said. 

“Players should arm themselves against it but sometimes the game is so rough that referees could give you some protection.” 

FLYING DUTCHMAN: Chelsea and Dutch winger Arjen Robben has asked for more protection from referees in theEnglish Premier League.

The 21-year-old faces another spell on the sidelines after accidentally straining his left ankle ligaments playing for Holland in a World Cup qualifier with Romania on Saturday. 

Robben was making his first start for seven weeks after breaking two bones in his left foot following a tackle by Blackburn Rovers’ Aaron Mokoena at the beginning of February. 

Mokoena, who was not booked for the heavy challenge, later apologised for putting Robben in the treatment room. 

The winger’s run of bad luck with injuries started when he broke his metatarsal bone last year in a pre-season friendly. 

“These injuries are just bad luck,” Robben said.  

“First time I was fouled from behind and I don’t have eyes in the back of my head, while the second time it was a battle for the ball where I came first and then got hit. 

“The only way to get over it is by playing a lot of matches but after these injuries you pay more attention to the way you handle these situations. 

“I don’t believe that players are deliberately trying to kick you out of a match. But when you play well and make your runs you draw more attention.” 

After being injured playing for the Premier League leaders seven weeks ago, Robben used his recovery periods to improve his physical strength and stayed in touch with his team mates. 

In his absence, Chelsea knocked Barcelona out of the Champions League and claimed their first silverware of the season by beating Liverpool in the League Cup final. 

“It was tough to watch these matches from the stands because they were very special occasions,” Robben said. 

However, the unlucky Dutch winger has been forced to sit on the sidelines again as he will now miss Chelsea's Champions League quarter-final matches with Bayern Munich next month. 

His latest injury occurred after he jumped to avoid clashing with Romania’s Bogdan Lobont as the goalkeeper came out to clear the ball as Holland won 2-0 to top group One. 

Robben, who set up the first goal for Phillip Cocu from a corner with less than a minute gone, said it was impossible to compare the style of his national and club teams. 

“With Chelsea we don’t play real attacking football but we are on top in the league with an 11-point gap and are in the quarter-finals of the Champions League, so we are doing well,” he said. 

Robben also praised the team spirit at the west London club.  

“We’ve proved that we can handle pressure,” he said. 

“We’ve had a lot of bad publicity but all about unimportant things. 

“Based on our achievements on the pitch we don’t deserve any critics,” added the Dutchman, who will be hoping his team mates can reach the Champions League semi-finals without him. – Reuters 

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