Arsenal fans – and most of the internet – can’t quite seem to wrap their head around what they’re hearing: Mauricio Pochettino has basically defended diving.
After the all the drama over Harry Kane and Érik Lamela diving for penalties against Liverpool at the weekend, Poch has revealed he believes diving is just another way for football players to ‘trick’ their opponents.
The 45-year-old then claimed that players would have been congratulated for this method of trickery 30-or-so years ago. You know, in the days of Tony Adams and Stuart Pearce. Yeah, I’m sure they would have given their teammates a right slap on the back for getting a penalty through diving… not.
“Football is a creative sport in which you need the talent that grows in a very intelligent person, a very smart brain,” he said, reports the Independent. “And now we are so focused on minimal details. I am worried that in a few years, we are pushing the sport we love now – a passionate sport that people love to watch around the world – into a very rigid structure. With VAR, with focusing too much on small actions like this.
“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?”
He added, “I am worried that maybe we are going to kill the game,” he said. “We love this game. Referees are humans too, and sometimes they are right, sometimes they are not right. In 10 months, over the whole season, sometimes it is against you, sometimes it is for you. For me, I like this type of football.
“My worry is this: of course if you dive, and the referee saw you, you are punished. And he deserves it. But don’t go more crazy.”
I’m pretty sure Eduardo and Robert Pires weren’t ‘congratulated’ when they were pulled up on diving. In fact, the British press, some of whom are actually agreeing with Poch, completely lynched them.
When Spurs players dive they’re ‘tricking’ their opponent but when others do it, it’s cheating?
Deceiving your opponent is indeed part of football, deceiving the officials i.e. diving, is cheating.
What defines a dive, which Poch says should be punished by the referee, compared to players just being ‘smart’?
Arsenal fans have these revolutionary ‘tactics’ to look forward to during the North London Derby on Saturday afternoon and most can’t quite seem to believe that these words actually came out of Poch’s mouth.
Here’s what Twitter had to say:
Almost hope an Arsenal player dives to win a last minute penalty at Wembley on Saturday now to win the match and AW just shrugs it off by saying: "Football is about trying to trick your opponent."
— Charles Watts (@charles_watts) February 7, 2018
— Met. (@AFCMet) February 7, 2018
Deceiving your opponent is clever, deceiving the referee is sly, and you KNOW the distinction, you’re just pretending otherwise to be different
— 2Ö21 (@Cescy_football) February 6, 2018
Ridiculous false equivalence. Tricking the referee about what has just been done to you (breaking the rules of the game in the process) is completely different to tricking a player about what you’re about to do, within the rules of the game. Try again.
— Andrew (@E17Gooner) February 7, 2018
A step over is using skill to trick an opposing player. A dive is to deceive and con a referee. In other words the latter is cheating. Is that a clear enough difference?
— Gary Lawrence (@garythegooner56) February 7, 2018
LOOOOOL FINISHED 😂😂😂
— Chiddy (@chiddyafc) February 7, 2018
No surprise that Kane & Alli constantly dive when Pochettino is encouraging it. Says diving is a “minimal detail” & that football is “about trying to trick your opponent.” @FA should write asking him to explain his comments. Poor.
— Sam (@samuelJayC) February 7, 2018
Pochettino on his players diving vs Liverpool: “Football is about trying to trick your opponent. When you do tactics, it is to try to trick the opponent. When I was a player, it was part of training to learn to cheat."
In short: "We cheat. I literally tell my players to cheat."
— Tom Todhunter (@tdhntr) February 7, 2018
The media lauding Mauricio Pochettino for advocating diving & cheating as a tactic tells you all you need to know about media narrative.
If Jose Mourinho or Arsene Wenger says that the media would have their torches & pitchforks out. What utter bullshit. Cheating’s cheating.
— Adam Joseph (@AdamJosephSport) February 7, 2018
No surprise to see that Pochettino advocates diving. Fairly obvious to anyone who has watched Spurs play under his leadership it is one of his ‘tactics’. The only groups oblivious to this are the media, FA and PGMO.
— Louis Akindele (@Louis_Akindele) February 6, 2018
There’s no chance that Pochettino is suddenly talking up the virtues of diving just ahead of the NLD because he doesn’t want his team full of divers getting extra attention. And look at the reporters lapping his garbage up.
— 7amkickoff (@7amkickoff) February 7, 2018
To put it normally: Pochettino is condoning DIVING which is CHEATING.
Why can’t the media put it as it is. If Wenger had said this they’d be on his back. Media love Spurs. https://t.co/IIuKJTgvdb
— North Bank View (@NorthBankView) February 6, 2018
Pochettino is right. Football is about trying to trick your opponent. However when it comes to diving, you're trying to trick the referee, not your opponent, so his point is irrelevant
— Rivalry Aside (@PainInTheArse) February 7, 2018
Diving is cheating and if he is condoning it then surely an FA charge must be incoming. Imagine the uproar if Jose had said this and not the media’s darling Pochettino
— Ian Funnell (@gobofunnell) February 7, 2018