Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson has advised his defender Patrick Van Aanholt not to square-up to Dele Alli following a confrontation that erupted between the pair at the end of Spurs’ 1-0 victory over the Eagles at Selhurst Park.
Spurs midfielder Dele Alli has found himself at the heart of another diving controversy as the 21-year-old England international was accused of simulation again this afternoon during his sides 1-0 victory against Crystal Palace.
Alli seemed to go down too easily after colliding with Palace’s goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey in the 73rd minute.
Despite Alli’s histrionics referee Kevin Friend did not award a penalty and decided not to book the Englishman. Alli has already received yellow cards for diving this season in games against Huddersfield and Liverpool.
Harry Kane managed to break Palace’s hearts in the 87th minute to score his 24th goal of the season and a landmark 150th career goal.
Tempers flared after the game and Alli seemed to bear the brunt of them when Palace defender Patrick Van Aanholt confronted the Spurs man.
Alli apparently responded with a hand gesture to indicate the game’s final score of 1-0. But before any fists or handbags could be thrown the pair were split up by other players.
Van Aanholt had a pop at Alli as he walked off. Alli turned back, and was led away by Kane and Eriksen. A bit of chat then from people by tunnel, plus boos., Alli seemed to make a “1-0” sign.
— Tom Collomosse (@TomCStandard) 25 February 2018
Yesterday Roy Hodgson came to the defence of Alli saying he doesn’t believe he’s a cheat.
“He runs with the ball and gets knocked over,” the former England boss told Goal. “In the time I was working with him I saw no aspects to his play or to his character that suggested cheating in any way whatsoever,” he said.
“Yes, he will get knocked over in the penalty area, he’ll get fouled. Some will be given as penalties and some won’t be, and when the penalty isn’t given, people will say he dived, that’s the nature of football today.
“But he’s no cheat and he doesn’t dive, that’s for sure.”
According to Tottenham correspondent Dan Kilpatrick, Hodgson defended Alli again after today’s game, reiterating his belief that the youngster is not a cheat. The former England manager also had some advice for his defender Van Aanholt: “I would advise Patrick [van Aanholt] not to square up to Dele Alli…my money would be on Dele.”
Tottenham’s boss Mauricio Pochettino was also quick to defend his player and thinks he has become an “easy target”.
But not everyone agrees with the two managers: BBC pundit Alan Shearer and Match of the Day host Gary Lineker were both convinced that Alli had dived.
A blatant dive. https://t.co/AUN3gLBMWj
— Alan Shearer (@alanshearer) 25 February 2018
Tottenham’s victory sees them replace Chelsea in fourth place in the Premier League, and they will face Rochdale at Wembley in an FA Cup fifth-round replay on Wednesday.
Crystal Palace still sit precariously above the drop zone in 17th place. Their lead over 18th placed Swansea is only on goal difference and the Eagles are unlikely to come through the next few games unscathed as they face Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea over the next three weeks.