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Mauricio Pochettino and Roy Hodgson have defended Dele Alli after the Tottenham star was accused of diving in Sunday’s 1-0 win over Crystal Palace.

Spurs left Selhurst Park with all three points after Harry Kane headed in a late winner following a dominant display by the visiting side.

Alli was involved in two separate incidents in which he was accused of diving in the second half – he was neither awarded a penalty nor given a yellow card.

For me, the first was a clear penalty. Patrick van Aanholt crashed into the back of Alli and knocked him to the ground.

But I think the second was a dive. Alli jumped into a challenge with Palace goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey in order to create contact.

After the game, both managers defended Alli and suggested a reputation is being manufactured by supporters and the media.

“He is an easy target for everyone. We need to stop saying too much about him to stop helping people, the fans, creating this reputation,” said Pochettino. (Quotes via Sky Sports.)

“He’s so competitive and played very well but Dele is an easy target.

“Dele is such a special kid. He’s going to play. He’s going to show his quality. He won’t worry what people are saying about him.”

Hodgson, who coached Alli during his time as England manager, said: “He only had the option to go down. The way our defenders defend the situation, he had to go down to avoid them. I don’t think he was looking for a penalty.

“(The crowd getting agitated is) what happens when all the talk in the massed media is about players diving: the public jump on the bandwagon to get as much advantage as they can.”

Alli’s reputation can only harm himself and Spurs form this point forward, so I hope he cuts the diving out of his game sooner rather than later.

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