Mauricio Pochettino once claimed that he practised the art of diving during his playing days.
We’ve dug up the quotes following last night’s 2-2 draw with Spurs, in which Dele Alli was booked for outrageous simulation, while Harry Kane and Erik Lamela were given penalties they 100% looked for.
“In Argentina, yes, the people sometimes practise that, it’s true,” Pochettino told the National in 2016, following some more Alli theatrics.
“But many years ago. Now I don’t know. But when I was a player always it was part of training to try to cheat. At Newell’s, many, many years ago it was part of practice.
“It was 15 years ago when Owen dived,” Pochettino said. “Don’t believe that English football is fair play always because Owen jumped like he was in a swimming pool. Come on. I didn’t touch him. I promise you. It’s true.
“I think today football is more global. England is more like European football. Now we have the influence of the Latin people that try to cheat always.
“Maybe you were more pure 20, 25, 30 years ago. Now you are like us.”
Tottenham’s forwards went down very, very easily – but there was contact – so there’ll be analysts and fans who claim they had a right to do so.
It reminds us of the Dominic Calvert-Lewin one before Christmas, when the Everton man ran into Dejan Lovren and launched himself onto the floor – earning his side a draw with Wayne Rooney converting the pen.
We’d happily admit that when a Liverpool player does this and wins a penalty we’d congratulate him, but we all suppose it’s a sad indictment of the modern game that this is even a discussion.
The argument of contact is skewed, as well. Football’s a contact sport. Contact is allowed, but nowadays there’s a rhetoric that contact in the box is banned. By the laws of the game, this isn’t the case.