Riise accepts Suarez's style of play

 

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The Independent Football

Fulham defender John Arne Riise refuses to condemn Luis Suarez for diving, instead accpepting it as part of the game.

The ease with which Suarez went to ground in Liverpool's 1-0 Barclays Premier League defeat at Craven Cottage last night saw him targeted with chants of "cheat" by home fans.

The Uruguay striker courted further controversy when he appeared to make an offensive gesture towards the crowd after the game, an incident the Football Association are examining.

Riise, who was playing against former club Liverpool for the first time, bears no grudge against Suarez for his style of play.

"Players going down happens, that's football. If he is diving or not diving, that's not up to us," he said.

"We play on and if we feel it's not a free-kick then we tell him. He's a good player, we respect him for what he's doing.

"You could see three or four times that he grew frustrated.

"But then the frustration soon goes away and that's the professionalism he has in his body. He's mentally very strong."

While Riise is happy to defend Suarez, he insists the 24-year-old must expect the physical treatment he occasionally encounters.

"He's a character and he has one type of football to play," he said.

"He has proved he's a great player and sometimes people get tough on him because that is the way some people have to play against him.

"If you try to be nice to him he can kill the game off. You have to be tough against him.

"He's lively. It's hard to know where you have him because he can be on the right, in the middle or on the left. He keeps going back and forth. He's always putting his body in.

"Our central defenders had him under control so all honour to them."

Fulham climbed up to 13th in the table with only their third Premier League victory of the season, secured by Clint Dempsey's 85th-minute winner.

It was the ideal start to a challenging spell of fixtures over the coming month that also includes matches against Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal.

Riise insists toppling Liverpool has flooded his team-mates with self-belief.

"We have played some good football in the last few weeks and we just have to keep going," he said.

"To play against Man Utd, Arsenal and Liverpool is hard work. On paper they are better sides.

"But if we do what we can we have a chance to come away with a point or even a win.

"To come away with three points against Liverpool, who have been in great form lately, is important and shows we can beat anyone - especially at home."

Liverpool saw their 11-match unbeaten run end at Craven Cottage and forward Dirk Kuyt admits they can ill-afford any more setbacks if they are to qualify for the Champions League.

"It's really disappointing not to get anything from the game," said Kuyt.

"It's frustrating but we have to keep going and start another run.

"We need to win these type of games if we are going to get into the top four. We need to improve."

 

PA

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