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.”

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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.

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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?”

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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.

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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? 

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Michael Mongie
Just like you, I am a hugely passionate Liverpool supporter. I started Rousing the Kop in January 2015 and since then it has grown tremendously and has even been nominated as 'Best New Football Blog' in the Football Blogging Awards.

6 COMMENTS

  1. I’m a lifelong Spurs fan, and I was ashamed and disgusted by our players’ antics last Sunday, and even more by Pochettino’s cynical defence of the indefensible. It’s no coincidence that he presided over another notorious 2-2 draw, back in 2016, when Spurs kicked Chelsea off the park, earning a record nine yellow cards in the process. He was a thug as a player, and has brought his ‘do whatever it takes’ attitude to a club which was once a byword for playing proper football, but is now in danger of being as hated by fans of other clubs as much as Revie’s Leeds were in the ’60s.

  2. There are, of course, nor have ever been, divers at Liverpool …………… not even Michael Owen ‘going over’ Poch’s leg that time.

    • I’m by no means implying or inferring that Liverpool players have been blameless in the past. A certain Luis Suarez was the worst of a very bad bunch but what I am saying is that there cannot be a situation where managers are passing it off as just another way to win a football match.

  3. Diving is only a problem because referees tend to look at reactions of players to decide whether an offence has been committed rather than the actions of the presumed perpetrator. Their task is made much more difficult by the dishonest appeals by both sides for anything and everything.
    There was an enormous amount of cheating by both sides in this game, most of which clearly passed you by, and there is in most games. Ridiculous appeals for fouls, handballs, throw-ins, corners, penalties, free kicks, anything you can think of, by players who must have known the truth of the incidents but ignored it in order to try to gain an unfair advantage.
    The foul on Kane was clearly a correct decision, even though he clearly made a meal of his reaction. But you have only commented on the controversy, which has been stirred up by Liverpool fans who couldn’t accept the deficiencies of their team.
    The foul on Lamela was clearly a correct decision even though he too clearly made a meal of his reaction.
    But you have only commented on the controversy.
    Luckily in these instances the referee, or rather his assistant, watched the action rather than the reaction and is to be commended for doing so.
    There was no foul on Alli when he tumbled to the ground, and no one ever thought that there was, including Alli, who didn’t even appeal for a free kick, but tried to play the ball from a sitting/lying position.
    I notice you have made no mention of Can pretending to the referee that Lovren didn’t play the ball before the Kane penalty, when he clearly knew that he did. It was caught on the audio replay. Neither he nor Eriksen should have been anywhere near the referee and his assistant at this point, as they were discussing the incident. They were both cheating.
    You are complaining about hypocrisy. Physician, heal thyself.

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