Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino feels that constant controversy surrounding diving in English football could end up consuming the game.
Spurs’ 2-2 draw at Liverpool on Sunday was overshadowed by a number of controversial incidents, heightened when Reds’ defender Virgil van Dijk accused Harry Kane and Erik Lamela of simulation to win two penalties in the stalemate.
Midfielder Dele Alli was also cautioned during the match for diving – his third such yellow card of the season – and Pochettino feels that while All deserved his booking, over-analysis of diving has gone too far in England.
Speaking to the media ahead of Tottenham’s FA Cup fourth round replay against Newport County on Wednesday, the former Southampton boss said:
“It was a yellow card. It happens. During different games, a lot of situations like this happen. The problem now is we are so sensitive about the situation. And then we are so focused on Dele Alli. The referee was right and perfect. It was a yellow card and nothing [else]. It’s too much sometimes. There is such a focus on this type of situation. I think it’s a minimal issue.
“We are so focused on minimal details. I am worried that in a few years, the sport we love and that people love to watch around the world, will be pushed into a very rigid, structured thing – with the VAR and with being focused too much on the small actions like this. 20 years ago, 30 years ago, it was like all congratulate the player when he tricks the referee or like this.
“You believe that in England you were honest and always perfect. That is the football I was in love with when I was a child. Football is about trying to trick your opponent. Yes or no? What does ‘tactic’ mean? When you do some tactics, it is to try to trick the opponent. You say: ‘Oh, I play on the right but I’m going to finish on the left.’ It’s a mix and I am worried that maybe we are going to kill the game.”
Kane is adamant that he felt contact from Loris Karius to bring him down to win Spurs’ penalty at Anfield, and the issue was raised once again on Monday night when Chelsea’s Thibaut Courtois was adjudged to have brought down Watford winger Gerard Deulofeu in very similar circumstances.