‘Football Is About Trying To Trick Your Opponent’ – Tottenham Boss Mauricio Pochettino Speaks Out In Favour Of Diving, Cheating

Chris Wright

7th, February 2018


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After watching his Tottenham side profit from two such instances recently, Mauricio Pochettino has shocked precisely nobody by speaking out in favour of diving in football.

Spurs conned two penalties in their 2-2 draw against Liverpool at the weekend when firstly Harry Kane and secondly Erik Lamela threw themselves about in order to ‘exaggerate/instigate contact’ to successfully swindle themselves a couple of uncontested efforts on goal.

Pochettino described the dives as “minimal details” and complained that English football’s moral fixation on diving and the like is “killing the game” by stifling creative expression.

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So creative. So… expressive.

Talking at his weekly press conference, Pochettino discussed his standpoint when it comes to the conniving dark arts at some length:

Football is a creative sport in which you need the talent that grows in a very intelligent person, a very smart brain. 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?

Honestly, it feels like Pies, who happen to find diving, etc, to be utterly repugnant and entirely against the principles of competitive sport, are now simply a futile minority fighting against a prevailing tide.

It’s not just the major dives – the headlong sprawls to win penalties – it’s the hundred little ones that take place every game now: players under pressure cheaply escaping from tight spots by waiting for a touch and hitting the deck; attackers chucking themselves under the bus or dragging legs in a vain hope of artificially creating a foul – it literally goes on all game, every game.

It’s hard to tell if something is fundamentally broken with football or if times have changed and our old-fashioned viewpoint is now simply redundant.

Are we out of touch? No, it’s the children (and worryingly, a majority of adults) who are wrong.

Posted in Managers, Tottenham Hotspur

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  1. Beano says:

    He’s not wrong, in any respect.

    • Chris Wright says:

      @Beano: Is diving seen as just part of the overall theatre these days?

      • Beano says:

        I would agree with him that it’s been a part of the game for almost 3 decades now (for better or worse). I’ve just gotten past the point of complaining. Players are gonna do it no matter what. Not even getting caught, and the ridicule that follows, is enough to curb the behavior, so why care.

  2. Skrrra says:

    Put it this way. Do you think it’s ok for a player to feign injury in the last few minutes, just because his team is winning and he wants to run down the clock? Don’t think so

  3. Sjakie Meulemans says:

    I feel your pain Chris, and I wholeheartedly agree. Like a junkie knows that, besides the rush, there are a few bad elements in using, I know football isn’t that great. Sometimes I wish I could stop watching, but I’m afraid I’m hooked.

  4. VieuxSang says:

    A dark art then? Consider Drogba a master.

  5. Rob says:

    I’m glad you included all the crap in the other areas of the field that the ex pros call “being clever” or “cute” no it’s called cheating.

    I’m studying for an occupational therapy exam at the moment and just came across one of the reflexes we are born with where if you become unbalanced and start to fall forwards your arms automatically extend out in front of you, I guess neither Harry Kane of Lamela retained that reflex.

  6. milt_palacio says:

    But aren’t you tricking the referee, the supposedly neutral party, and not your opponent? Also, pulling stuff like this 20-30 years ago would get your shit kicked in by the likes of Keane, Vinnie Jones or Olaskoaga

  7. Archer says:

    I’m frankly staggered at most of the comments here, agreeing with – or at least justifying – Pocchetino’s load of twaddle.

    The odd dive and time wasting here and there is expected, but what we see is incessant and prevalent in pretty much every game.

    VAR is clearly not a silver bullet as we’ve seen recently. What would be great is if it were not needed i.e. players were honourable and played fairly (ok dreamworld, I know).

    The worst thing about Spuds’ recent display of cheating is that there’s no need for it at all – they are by far a good enough team just to play football.

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