Arsène Wenger has backed Jens Lehmann's call that goalkeepers should receive greater protection and respect in the game.

In an exclusive interview with on Monday, the German voiced his concerns in the wake of the serious injuries to Petr Cech and Carlo Cudicini over the weekend.

Now his manager has added to the call for change.

"I can understand why Jens is upset and worried," said Wenger. "This year there have been Shay Given, Mark Schwarzer, who damaged his cheekbone, Cech and Cudicini. It cannot be coincidence that suddenly in three months you have four injuries.

"I believe there is a moment where, as a player, you realise the keeper will be first on the ball and at that moment you have to break down all of your pace and speed not to hurt the keeper. That is not always done. Sometimes people think 'OK, I keep going in, maybe I will release the ball from him'. It is dangerous.

"I feel audacity is part of the quality of a keeper. When a keeper has lost that somewhere, he is dead. If one day before Jens comes out to go for a cross and thinks 'OK, I am a married man, I am 37 and have children' and all that, then it is finished.

"You do not want them to lose that fraction of audacity - and they can only keep that if they feel they have protection. It is not that nobody can touch them, because that is part of the job. But players should not be allowed to do things which are too dangerous and have no respect for the rules. It is not only the rules, but also the spirit of the game."

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17 Oct 2006