“If it is physical, it is fantastic,” he said. “If you go for the ball with the intention of going for the ball and we lose the battle, then well done and bye-bye.
“But ask any player who’s played here, ask Vieira or Petit, if he has been targeted without any intention of playing the ball, just to kick him out of the game and they’ll tell you they have.
“The referee has the rule book. He has to decide if this is a correct play for the ball or not. That is it.
"What I don’t accept is on top of that it is said our players are not brave. In sport courage is to play in respect of the rules — which is what our guys do. It’s not to kick.
“If you box and you kick somebody in the face with your feet, are you brave with that? No, I’m sorry — you are not respecting the rules.
“If Walcott is in front of you, do you think I’m stupid, I know he is three times quicker than I am and I still tackle him from behind. Do you really think I try to play the ball?
“When we get the right protection we can play against all types of teams.
“I read that my team were not brave. I can say that they are brave and for me, you need to have more courage to play football when you know that someone is tackling you from behind without any intention to play the ball.
“I can show some tackles where I can prove what I say — that the only intention was to hurt you.
“Look at the players we have lost here. Diaby, deliberate foul from behind. Rosicky, deliberate foul. Eduardo, deliberate foul. Now we lose Walcott, deliberate foul. Adebayor and Sagna got injured with a deliberate foul on him.
“And you want me to say ‘Sorry we are not brave?’ ”