LONDON – Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino fears English football’s obsession with over-analysis of decisions and a fixation with diving could kill the sport.
Pochettino's side drew 2-2 at Liverpool on Sunday in a match marred by contentious penalty decisions by referee Jon Moss.
Tottenham were awarded two penalties which have been the source of fierce debate in the past two days, while Spurs midfielder Dele Alli was also booked for diving.
Pochettino felt all three calls were correct, but Liverpool counterpart Jurgen Klopp was left fuming as his side were pegged back in stoppage time when Harry Kane converted the second controversially awarded penalty.
Tottenham's impressive performance has subsequently been overlooked as the decisions of the officials are analysed with a fine-tooth comb, and Pochettino believes paying so much attention to such issues takes away from the essence of the game.
“Football is a creative sport, in which you need the talent, that grows in a very intelligent person, a very smart brain,” he said.
“And now we are so focused on minimal details. I don't know. I am worried that in a few years, if the sport that we love now (will still be) a passionate sport that the people love to watch around the world.
“If we are not pushing that sport into a very rigid structured (one) - with the VAR, with being focused too much on the small actions like this.”
In what will be seen as supporting Alli's constant issue with diving, Pochettino also claimed the England star's problem isn't worth worrying about.
“To stop the game, to punish people that ... 20 years ago, 30 years ago, it was like all congratulate the player when he tricks the referee or like this. If you remember the football 30 years ago,” he said.
“That is the football that I was in love with when I was a child. Football is about trying to trick your opponent. You know? Yes or no? Tactic - what does tactic mean? When you do some tactics it is to try to trick the opponent. You say, 'Oh I play on the right but I'm going to finish on the left'.
“It's a mix that I am worried that maybe we are going to kill the game. We love this game.”