Mauricio Pochettino says Dele Alli deserved to be booked for diving against Liverpool but insisted “football is about trying to trick your opponent.”

On top of Alli’s dive, some believe Harry Kane left a foot in for his first penalty in the 2-2 draw at Anfield on Sunday.

But Mauricio Pochettino thinks it is all part of the game he grew up loving.

Asked about Alli’s dive, the Spurs boss said: “It was clear. It was a yellow card. The referee was right. The problem now is that we are so sensitive about the situation. And we are so focused on Dele Alli.” (Quotes via ESPN.)

“It’s too much sometimes. There is such a focus on this type of situation. I think it’s a minimal issue.

“Look, there are a lot of positives from Dele. Of course, he’s not perfect. Nobody is perfect. He is a clever boy. He is a little bit nasty. The problem today is about more than this type of situation: I am worried that we are going to change the game that we know, how we know football.

“Football is a creative sport, in which you need the talent that grows in a very intelligent person, and a very smart brain. And now we are so focused on minimal details.

“I am worried that in a few years, the sport that we love now – a passionate sport that the people love to watch around the world — will be pushed into a very rigid structure – with the VAR, with being focused too much on the small actions like this.

“To stop the game, to punish people… Twenty years ago, 30 years ago, all congratulated the player when he tricks the referee like this! Not just in Argentina but in England too.

“You believe that in England you were honest and always perfect! That is the football that I was in love with when I was a child.”

“Football is about trying to trick your opponent. What does ‘tactics’ mean? When you do some tactics is to try to trick the opponent. You say, ‘Oh I go to the right but I’m going to finish on the left!’

“It’s a mix [of skills]. I am worried that maybe we are going to kill the game. We love this game!

“It is always in my mind to think positively about the [referee’s] decision. The referees are humans too and sometimes they are right, sometimes they are not right. I like this type of football.

“In 10 months, the whole season, sometimes it is against you, sometimes it is for you. In football we accept that is the situation and sometimes the referees are going to help and sometimes they are going to not help you.

“Only my worry is this: of course if you dive and the referee saw you, you are punished. Of course and he deserves it. But don’t go more crazy!”

Do you agree with Pochettino’s views on diving? Let us know in the comments.



  1. No-one likes a diver. I have not heard a single Spurs fan condone Dele’s diving or express any opinion other than that he should cut it out. I can’t help but feel, however, that there is something of a witch-hunt against the lad. They pick up on every little infraction he commits and scream for retrospective punishment, even when he’s already been disciplined on the pitch. But they somehow miss the fact that he is kicked all over the pitch week in, week out, and refs ignore it. On a more general note on diving, sometimes players just fall over, sometimes they are legitimately getting out of the way of dangerous challenges. Whether a player actually appeals or not should make a big difference. And it’s not as though Dele or today’s game invented diving.

    Maybe players should be be given the opportunity to indicate that they thought contact was coming, reacted to that and are certainly not appealing – with added “I feel like a bit of a Pratt” option???


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