LONDON – Arsenal’s head coach Arsene Wenger criticized on Thursday the practice of faking falls, known as “diving,” adding that English soccer players had become experts in these acts.
While not naming which players he was referring to, Wenger’s remarks came just four days after Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane and Dele Alli were accused of diving during their last Premier League game against Liverpool (2-2).
“We have to get diving out of the game. I remember there were tremendous cases here when foreign players did it, but I must say the English players have learned very quickly and they might even be the masters now,” Wenger said during the press conference before the Premier League match against Tottenham.
The veteran French coach went on to defend the behavior of his players and to express his support for referees’ judgment.
“I don’t tell my players to dive. Sometimes you want your players to be intelligent, they have played a little bit with the rules, they make more of it on the penalty case,” he said.
“Every striker will do that. Where is it and how far can you go? That is down to the referees and I think that sometimes, at normal speed, it is very difficult to determine, I must say,” the coach said.
“On that front, as much as I can be harsh with the referees, on that front I am quite tolerant with the referees because when you watch a game live it is very difficult at 100 percent pace to distinguish whether it is a dive or not,” he added.
Ahead of the North London derby, Wenger insisted on the importance of defeating the Spurs while praising rival striker Harry Kane as one of the best in Europe.
“It’s an opportunity to come back in the table and get closer to the Champions League spots. That is the priority,” Wenger explained.