Van Dijk misfortune does not mean players need more protection, says David Luiz

Arsenal star David Luiz sympathises with his defensive counterpart Virgil van Dijk, but does not believe the laws of football need changing in order to avoid such incidents.

The Dutchman suffered a cruciate ligament injury, while the Everton keeper escaped any punishment as play was brought back for an offside call in the Toffees box.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp was left incensed with Pickford’s actions and the lack of following sanctions, but Luiz is of the opinion that injuries like that suffered by Van Dijk are part of the game.

“It’s a game with contact. This is football and it’s always going to be like that,” the centre-back explained to reporters ahead of Arsenal’s Premier League clash with Leicester City on Sunday.

“When a player goes to try to make someone bad (with a challenge), or do something bad, we can see it.

“But it’s part of our job and sometimes we’re unlucky with some balls – and you can get injured yourselves or hurt someone.

“You must say sorry, be humble, and if you really mean that, everybody will see this.

“But the most important thing is we have to protect football.

“Football is made to make people happy and we must play it like that – but also understand some contact exists.”

Arsenal suffered greatly throughout 2019-20 with defensive troubles, with only Chelsea and Burnley in the Premier League top 10 conceding more than Mikel Arteta’s charges.

The current term, though, has seen Luiz and his partners at the back turn over a new leaf, having shipped six goals in their five matches to date – a record second only to Aston Villa across the league.

According to Luiz, Arteta’s influence has proved key in tightening up the Gunners’ rearguard.

“We’re working hard, we understand what Mikel wants from us, we know how we want to play and have the right mentality and attitude. We want to achieve,” the Brazilian added.

“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.

“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.


Source : goal.com