By Chris Harris

Arsène Wenger doesn't think the standard of refereeing is higher in the Champions League - but he does think it's different.

Premier League officials are under the microscope after a string of controversial decisions at the weekend, including at least two during Arsenal's 4-1 win over Bolton.

The focus turns to European football this week, prompting reporters at Wenger's pre-match press conference to ask whether standards of officiating are higher in the Champions League.

"It's not superior to English refereeing - it's different," replied the Arsenal manager.

"I would say even the English referees are different when they have matches in Europe. There is less permissive on goalkeepers, on commitment."

That's not to say that Wenger prefers it that way. He is still a fan of the English style of play as long as it is executed with honesty.

"I must say I love the way the game is played in England," he said.

"The one restriction has to be full commitment with the intention of going for the ball and only for the ball. Then, I prefer English football ten times as much to the European game.

"The English game becomes dangerous when the players go to hurt each other. You need intention aligned with the type of game you play in England."

Wenger has seen a number of his players fall victim to dangerous tackling in recent years, players who might receive more protection from referees on the continent.

But the manager is wary of refereeing going too far the other way.

"More protection can become boring as well," he said. "I've seen some countries when every little push or shoulder-to-shoulder is a foul and then it becomes boring because they interrupt the game too much.

"I prefer, by miles, the philosophy of the English game but you need to know everyone goes for the ball and only the ball."

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14 Sep 2010