Karl Henry, the Wolverhampton Wanderers midfielder, insists there was no malice in the challenge that left Fulham forward Bobby Zamora with a broken ankle.
Henry made a sliding tackle on Zamora in the 29th minute of Wolves' defeat that left the Fulham player in agony and needing oxygen and treatment before being taken to hospital where he underwent surgery yesterday. The England forward now faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines but Henry, 27, feels Wolves are unfairly being labelled as an aggressive team.
"I know Bobby, we have the same agent and we were away together with the England Under-21s," Henry said. "I would never go out to hurt anyone, let alone him. I have just tried to win the ball and I could see he was in agony straight away. It was a good tackle. I know what happened against Newcastle [when Wolves received seven yellow cards] has been well publicised but I felt a lot of our bookings were unjust.
"We felt maybe our cards were marked. We were getting booked for things and getting fouls against us for things we didn't think were fouls."
Wolves took the lead through Jelle Van Damme's first strike for the club. But Fulham hit back with two goals from Moussa Dembélé. The Belgium international, signed from AZ for £5m in the transfer window, is proving to be a real find for manager Mark Hughes.
Dembélé has now promised to fill the void left by Zamora. "Bobby's injury was a shock to the whole squad," he said. "We were upset because he is one of our most important players and to lose him for an amount of time is going to be hard for us. It's not going to be easy to play without him, but we must carry on. I can play in his position.
"I wouldn't say it is my favourite but I can play there. Wherever the manager plays me, I will do my best. But I played well with Clint Dempsey in attack after Bobby went off. We had a good understanding. We divided the work between us and it worked okay."
Dembélé is still adjusting to the pace of the Premier League, but felt Wolves deserved all of their cards. He said: "The lad who got red did the same thing three or four times so he deserved to get sent off. It was a very physical game."
Fulham 4-4-2: Schwarzer; Pantsil (Baird 46), Hangeland, Hughes, Kelly; Davies, Murphy, Etuhu, Dempsey (Johnson 83); Zamora (Gera 30), Dembélé Substitutes not used Etheridge, Halliche, Riise, Greening.
Booked Pantsil, Hangeland, Murphy.
Wolves 4-4-2: Hahnemann; Foley, Craddock, Berra, Ward; Jarvis, Mancienne, Henry, Van Damme (Fletcher 46); Ebanks-Blake (Guedioura 85), Doyle (Jones) Substitutes not used Hennessey, Elokobi, Stearman, Bent.
Booked Berra,Ward, Jarvis, Mancienne, Henry, Jones Sent off Berra.
Man of the match Dembélé.
Possession Fulham 51% Wolves 49%.
Shots on target Fulham 6, Wolves 2.
Referee P Dowd (Staffordshire).......... Attendance 25,280.
Match rating 8/10.