“It’s a disease. It’s one we’re almost rid of but if people do it, they’ve got to be reminded it’s not right.”
Those were the words of Crystal Palace manager Tony Pulis after he saw two of his players – Jerome Thomas and Marouane Chamakh – dive during the Eagles match against Swansea City on Sunday.
While Thomas was booked in stoppage time, Chamakh avoided a caution, but Pulis told the BBC, “They’ll pay money for that. They will both be fined.”
Pulis’s tough-stance is just another reason why he has impressed so many since he transformed the Eagles from relegation certainties to one of the most in-form sides in the Premier League.
It has been a remarkable turnaround, and it is testament to both the manager and his players that at the end of the match, an apology was given to referee Mike Dean for Thomas’s attempt to win a second penalty.
“It’s something I’m very strong on,” Pulis added.
Now contrast that with incidents earlier in the season involving Manchester United’s Ashley Young and the subsequent reaction of their manager David Moyes.
It was against Palace – under former manager Ian Holloway – when Young was criticised for diving.
A clash with Kagisho Dikgacoi saw the England winger booked for going to ground, while there was also an element of contention in the penalty later awarded for a coming together between the two men.
But speaking of the first incident, Moyes said, “I don’t want my players diving. It’s not what I want.”
You would be hard-pressed to find someone who disagreed, but when Young was accused of the same offence in a match against Real Sociedad, when asked if he had again spoken to Young, Moyes reportedly replied, “No. The referee was two yards away from it and gave a penalty. If you need to talk to anybody, you should ask the referee.”
In truth there was minimal contact and the penalty-award appeared to be the right decision, but there is quite a difference in how the two managers have dealt with incidents in the past.
Pulis was straight on top of his players, showing them just how wrong they were, stamping out the problem at the first available opportunity. Moyes, on the other hand, acted less firmly – at least in public.
Given the way Palace’s players are performing under Pulis, it seems his style is working just fine.
image: © Jenny Leigh