"There are other points [than diving] that, for me, are more urgent – players who play only to make fouls and who are never punished; players who make repeated fouls and who get out of the game without a yellow card. That, for me, is more anti-football than a player who did what Eduardo did."
"I have seen a player who plays only on the pitch to make repeated fouls,Look at how many deliberate fouls some players make and get away with. I think that's a bigger problem [than diving] because it cuts the flow of the game. And people come and pay to see football. They do not come to see freekicks. You should ask the referees."
Those were the words of Arsene Wenger after the Manchester United. Were they stong enough to make the referees take notice and decide to "punish" the players in future games?
Yes, according to the United midfielder Darren Fletcher. "It was clearly not a foul. I knew at the time and I have watched it again on the replay. I back-heeled the ball and Cole just jumps up in the air and the ref gives a foul.
"I think we are starting to see Mr Wenger's comments starting to influence referees which is a shame really. Now we have to raise our game and ensure these decisions are not affecting the game."
Really, Fletcher? Could it not be, that the referees had made a mistake? You know, the way they have done so in the past ? Could it not have been the "12th man" as Wayne rooney seems to suggests?
It was Arsene Wenger that influenced that decision? And it took seven games after the comments were made for the referees to get influenced? Must be one of the slowest referee association in the world!
Fletcher has been one of the most improved players in the United squad and seems like a nice chap, but these recent comments do seem extremely puerile. Wenger had always been one of the most respected managers, even among rivals, and such words that slander the reputation of such a wonderful gentleman is shocking.
It is unknown if Fletcher's eruption was something that occurred in the heat of the moment, was it a grudge that he held against Wenger for the earlier comments or something else. Whatever the case maybe, Fletcher should do the right thing and apologise.