David Moyes has trialled a daring new excuse for the blatant and obvious dive that set West Ham on course to a 3-0 away win over Stoke at the Bet365 Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
After kick-off was delayed for about an hour due to a mass power outage in the local area, the Hammers were up and running by the 19th minute when Mark Noble stuck away an ill-gotten penalty.
Manuel Lanzini was the man to conjure the spot-kick out of thin air, crumpling in a heap in the 18-yard box under the most minimal influence of Stoke defender Erik Pieters.
The Argentinian forward charged into the Stoke area from inside his own half and, just as he was running out of space, used a semi-tackle from Pieters to feign a foul.
Indeed, Pieters shaped to slide-tackle Lanzini before quickly realising he’d slightly mistimed his lunge and stopping short, but that didn’t stop Lanzini from flailing to the ground only to have his efforts rewarded with an game-opening penalty kick.
He knew it was a dive, Pieters knew it was a dive, Jack Butland new it was a dive, David Moyes knew it was a dive, but still the West Ham manager defended the flagrant subterfuge on show.
It took him almost an hour after the final whistle, but this is how Moyes decided to absolve his man in his post-match press conference:
The defender gave the referee a decision to make. Manuel Lanzini ran about 70 yards so I think he went over with fatigue rather than a dive.
I’d be disappointed to give away a penalty like that but sometimes that’s the way it goes.
Lanzini was running as fast as his little legs could carry him. How could he have possibly maintained an upright posture?
Unfortunately for Moyes, Pies’ ultra-sensitive allergy to total bollocks is flaring up again.
We’re aware it’s entirely our problem. The sooner we simply accept that diving has slowly become a legitimate, profitable skill and that nobody is willing to do a damn thing to prevent it, the sooner we can watch live football in numb peace again.