Everton manager Sean Dyche has attacked the modern culture within the game which he believes encourages some players to exaggerate injury when fouled to maximise any advantage they may get.
Dyche was unhappy with the reaction of Tottenham striker Harry Kane during Monday’s 1-1 draw at Goodison Park, with the England captain falling to the floor after Abdoulaye Doucoure raised a hand into his face, for which the Everton midfielder was sent off.
While Dyche said he regarded Kane’s actions as “gamesmanship” rather than cheating and a “big drama over nothing”, he bemoaned some of the things he has been seeing in football.
“The strange thing about football is that on one night you have a player who, in theory, is very close to getting a broken ankle and nothing is said, and another gets a broken eyelash and it’s like the world is going to end,” said Dyche.
“But that’s society and how things have changed. It (the incident) was pretty much nothing but football has changed.
“Everyone has become so precious haven’t they? The rules are so precious, in society as well as football.
“I’ve been on about it for years. Millions of kids see footballers cheat every week, diving all over the place, and no-one says a word.
“Someone gets flicked in the eyelash and it becomes a big situation. That’s just the way it is now.
“If you make a rule everyone will try to find a way to bend it. So you make a rule that you can’t touch anyone in the face and now everyone goes down if they do get touched in the face.
“It was a big drama over nothing, although I was worried when they concussion-tested him though. I thought ‘Wow, this could be a close one’.
“Harry Kane is a great pro but some of it leaves you scratching your head. I don’t regard that as cheating. It’s gamesmanship.
“But diving and stuff, going down when you haven’t been touched and self-kicking, that’s just cheating. There’s a difference.”
Dyche compared Kane’s reaction to that of Everton defender Michael Keane after Spurs substitute Lucas Moura was sent off late on for an over-the-top tackle.
“I don’t remember Michael Keane being down for too long. That could have been really nasty,” said the Everton boss.
“Just to be clear I’m not talking about individuals here. I don’t think for one second that Moura meant it but he could have hurt him.
“Equally, and this isn’t particularly about Harry Kane, if someone touches you in the face now, you go down.
“I know I joked about it but it is worrying to me when I see the physio concussion-testing him after that. Really? Come on.
“And that’s not about being a football manager, it’s just being human. If lads go down in training here I do tell them to get up. I have my own authentic standards.”