Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has accepted that Dele Alli deserved a booking for simulation in the clash against Liverpool at the weekend.
Spurs were given two penalties in the game, but Alli’s fall in the box was not one of them. He was booked by the referee after a dive in the first half.
But Pochettino did defend his player’s actions.
“It was clear. It was a yellow card. The referee was right,” Pochettino said of Alli’s dive.
“The problem now is that we are so sensitive about the situation. And we are so focused on Dele Alli.
“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.”