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: