Contrasting comments from Mauricio Pochettino show that the Spurs manager has been a little hypocritical in his stance on diving in the past.
Spurs were awarded two penalties at Anfield on Sunday afternoon with the second helping the North London outfit earn a point at the death when it looked as though Mohamed Salah had won the game for Liverpool with an incredible goal.
The first penalty awarded, the most contentious and the one that Harry Kane failed to score, has sparked huge debate among football fans about diving and columns in many newspapers this week have been devoted to simulation.
Some have argued that there is a place in the game for the “dark arts” while others have bluntly refused to believe that cheating can be tolerated. Mauricio Pochettino has said that he believes English football’s moral fixation with diving is “killing the game.”
Dele Alli was booked by Jon Moss at Anfield for simulation as the 21-year-old went down in the box without being touched. The dive was responded to with outrage from Dejan Lovren and Andy Robertson, with the former having a dig at Alli on Instagram.
Lovren’s centre back partner on the night Virgil van Dijk has also branded Harry Kane a cheat after the Englishman simulated contact with Loris Karius to earn himself a penalty.
The Dutchman also thinks that Erik Lamela went down too easily to win a spot-kick at the death.
And yet, despite the fact that it’s clearly the other way around, Mauricio Pochettino believes English football’s moral fixation over diving is “killing football.“
The Spurs boss told reporters after the game on Merseyside: “Football is about trying to trick your opponent – yes or no?
“Tactics – what does ‘tactic’ mean? When you do tactics, it is to try to trick the opponent. You play on the right, but you finish on the left. Twenty years ago, thirty years ago, we all congratulated a player when he tricks the referee like this.
“That is the football that I was in love with when I was a child. Yes, in Argentina, but in England too. You believe that in England you were honest and always perfect?”
I cannot help but vehemently disagree Pochettino on diving. At the end of the day, there is nothing tactical about it – there is only the fact that it’s cheating and in a sport where fans pay so much money to see there team win, that cannot be determined by a dive.
If so, where do we draw the line? If deception of the referee is tactical then surely handling the ball out of sight of the officials would be acceptable?
If Luis Suarez had somehow managed to escape being in sight of the referee when he punched the ball off the line in the 2010 World Cup then that would, technically, according to Pochettino, be successful duping of a referee and should be applauded.
He would, in this world of upside downs, be congratulated for eliminating an entire nation in Ghana from the World Cup. As it so happened, Asamoah Gyan missed the penalty that was awarded and Suarez was branded a cheat – and rightly so.
Despite his comments on diving on Sunday, Pochettino seemingly had a different view on the matter just a few months ago, reproaching Dele Alli for diving against Huddersfield in September.
The Argentine said last year: “This type of action doesn’t help him, doesn’t help the team and doesn’t help football.
“We have been talking in the last few years about fair play, to be honest. I think he is improving a lot and learning but still he must learn.”
Although controversy is a part of football and if it were to disappear entirely from football, as it could with VAR, we would have a very boring game, I personally cannot condone cheating to achieve personal or team success.
Comment below what you think of diving. Is it a neccessary evil, do we need to grow accustomed to the dark arts or is it unacceptable?