Football

Pochettino: Diving is now part of English football

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino will not caution Dele Alli against diving, but believes English players do now cheat just as much as foreigners.

Alli courted controversy for his theatrical fall that won Spurs a first-half penalty, which Harry Kane converted, in their 5-0 thrashing of Swansea last Saturday.

The midfielder nicked the ball ahead of Swans defender Kyle Naughton in the area before tumbling to the ground, but any contact appeared minimal.

It is not the first time Alli has been criticised for winning dubious fouls, but Pochettino has no intention of reprimanding the talented 20-year-old.

"It's too difficult to advise because you cannot recreate the same situation in the future and advise, 'Don't fall down or...', it's too difficult," Pochettino said.

"It's too difficult to work like that. Dele is how he is. I am yet to speak with him to know what happened in that situation.

"Maybe he will say, 'OK, I fell down, but I didn't mean to dive but the referee believed it was a penalty', or it wasn't his intention, but it's difficult now."

Diving was once associated more with foreign players, but Pochettino smiled when recalling his foul on Michael Owen at the 2002 World Cup, which gave England a penalty against Argentina.

Owen toppled over Pochettino's dangling left leg but, while referee Pierluigi Collina pointed to the spot, replays showed he had not touched the striker.

"It was 15 years ago when Owen dived," Pochettino said.

"English football is not always fair because Owen jumped like he was in a swimming pool. Come on. I didn't touch him. I promise you. It's true.

"Football, today, is more global. England is more like European football. Now we have the influence of the Latin people who try to cheat always.

"Maybe you were more pure 20, 25, 30 years ago. Now you are like us."

Pochettino explained how when he came through the ranks at Newell's Old Boys in Argentina they even used to practise diving in training.

"Many years ago in Argentina, yes, they sometimes practise that, it's true," Pochettino said.

"Now, I don't know. But, when I was a player at Newell's many, many years ago, it was always part of training to try to cheat." - PA SPORT

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