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Lehmann defends ball-throwing

December 31, 2003 18:21 IST

Arsenal and Germany goalkeeper Jens Lehmann says he threw the ball at Kevin Phillips after Monday's premier league match because the Southampton striker pushed him and stood on his foot.

Lehmann faces being punished by the Football Association after referee Steve Dunn said he would mention the incident, for which the keeper later apologised, in his report of the match won 1-0 by Arsenal.

"He [Phillips] pushed me in the back, and stamped on my foot. Shouldn't you also be punished for that?" Lehmann said in an interview in Wednesday's edition of Germany's Bild newspaper.

Lehmann, who was warned over his behaviour after a number of Arsenal players were involved in a fracas at Manchester United in September, joked he should be banned for a year for what happened after the Southampton game.

"Should they ban me for a year after all?" the 34-year-old keeper said.

Bild also published a photograph which showed Southampton midfielder Rory Delap treading on Lehmann's ankle.

Lehmann said in a separate interview published in Bild on Tuesday he is confident he will play in goal for Germany at Euro 2004 and believes Oliver Kahn's position as Germany's number one should be challenged.

Lehmann has been capped 16 times for his country.

The German joined Arsenal from Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund at the start of this season and has kept six clean sheets in 17 appearances for the London club.

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