Tottenham's Mauricio Pochettino accuses English football of hypocrisy

LONDON -- Tottenham's Mauricio Pochettino has accused English football of hypocrisy over the partisan reactions to refereeing decisions and said he will never complain about mistakes by officials.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said he would "pay the biggest fine in world football" if he revealed his true feelings about Spurs' stoppage-time equaliser -- one of two penalties they were awarded -- in Sunday's 2-2 draw at Anfield. Pochettino, though, congratulated the referee on two "brave" decisions.

On Tuesday, the Spurs manager launched a controversial defence of diving after Dele Alli was booked for simulation on Sunday, saying "tricking" referees is part of the game he fell in love with, and arguing that officials should be allowed to make mistakes.

In another nostalgic plea, Pochettino said football was more honest when he was a player and warned that partisanship was one of the dangers to the modern game.

"The problem -- not just here in England -- is hypocrisy," Pochettino said. "We understand football how we want. We are positive in some circumstances and negative in others, if it benefits ourselves or not.

"Our responsibility as managers or people in football is to try to keep and respect the essence of this game.

"I heard [former Argentina international Jorge] Valdano a few days ago on the radio in Spain. He said: 'I loved football in the 1990s.' I agree with him.

"Because that was what touched us, those who love real football. Of course, we can improve things -- we cannot keep everything from that period -- but I think there are some aspects we have to be careful about changing in football. Because then we will watch and play a different sport."

Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk accused Harry Kane of diving for Spurs' first spot-kick, which the striker missed with the score at 1-1, and said his challenge on Erik Lamela for the second penalty, converted by Kane, was "clearly not a foul."

Kane was in an offside position from Alli's through-ball for the first incident but referee Jon Moss ruled that Dejan Lovren had deliberately touched the ball, playing the England striker onside.

Pochettino said he understood Liverpool's frustration but suggested again that he would have accepted the decisions with more grace, as he did when Antonio Valencia appeared to foul Alli in the box in Spurs' 2-0 win over Man United last week.

"I understand their frustration, of course. Honestly," the Argentine said. "The first penalty, Harry Kane was onside. He was offside before Lovren touched the ball; when Lovren touched the ball, he was onside. That is the rule. What can we do? Nothing.

"The second [penalty], it was clear how Van Dijk kicked Lamela. Soft? Not so hard? I don't know. Kick or not? Yes. It's a penalty.

"I agree that they complain and are frustrated about the situation. But I was frustrated with some actions that happened in the last three years here at Tottenham.

"It was a penalty, Valencia [on Alli]. OK? But the referee didn't see. I accept that, I don't complain about that. But that is so clear. In both decisions [against Liverpool], the referee and the assistant were right.

"It is so important to tell everyone when they are right. It's easy to complain with the referee when they are wrong. In one second you must take the decision. It's so difficult for them. We need to explain that they were right.

"I am how I am," he added. "Other people are how they are. I have nothing to say about the comments. It's their opinion, and I accept all the opinions."