Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has warned football not to become comfortable with diving and says that English players have “become the masters” at simulation.
Wenger was responding to comments from Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino, who said that the object of football was to “trick your opponent” and compared diving to tactics, ahead of Saturday’s north London derby at Wembley.
Spurs’ Dele Alli was booked for simulation in Sunday’s draw at Anfield, while fellow Englishman Harry Kane was accused of diving by Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk to win a penalty.
“I am convinced that he [Pochettino] wanted to say that tricking your opponent is to say that you have to be clever,” said Wenger.
“How far was it an apology for diving? I’m not sure at all. I don’t think he would.
“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.
“I don’t encourage my players to dive at all. If you look at the situation, I think when sometimes you do not want to provoke a dive as well. Sometimes you want your players to be intelligent, make more of it on the penalty case.”
Tottenham are currently fifth, four points above Arsenal in sixth and are unbeaten in three league meetings at home against the Gunners since Pochettino became manager in 2014.
Yet Wenger believes this year’s match at Wembley, where his side have won nine games in a row, could help move the needle in their favour.
“It has a little weight because we have a good level of performance there,” he said. “So we will not feel too much ‘away’ in that situation.”