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Serie A season preview: AS Roma

AS Roma 11 hours ago
Read
Aug 31, 2009

Wenger brands United tactics as "anti-football"

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has slammed Manchester United's methods of breaking up his side's play after they lost at Old Trafford on Saturday evening.

Wenger has spoken out after the defeat, claiming Sir Alex Ferguson's tactics were nothing short of "anti-football" - and he believes that is worse than Eduardo's alleged "dive" against Celtic in midweek.

The Gunners' boss launched a thinly veiled attack on United midfielder Darren Fletcher, who he claims is in the team purely to make tackles and is the chief culprit.

However, the match stats show that out of the seven players who committed the most fouls, five were from Arsenal. And as the Gunners had six players booked, they automatically receive a £25,000 fine from the Football Association.

"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 free-kicks. You should ask the referees [how they get away with it]."

Wenger also defended Eduardo over the claims of diving: "I think it is difficult with diving. Sometimes players dive to escape being hit. It's not always necessarily diving because you want to dive. Sometimes it's a way of getting out of the way.

"The borderline between being sensible, being shrewd or being a cheat is very slim so, in some cases, to assess which is which is very difficult.

"Uefa have made the case of Eduardo. If you watch the Super Cup on Friday then they will have to charge (Lionel) Messi for headbutting or they will lose credibility. They have opened something there that over the weekend I'll find you 50 situations where they can intervene, or if they don't Eduardo will be singled out for being a wrong victim. I do not want Messi to be punished but if they go for Eduardo then people will demand it. Pedro, also of Barcelona, dived as well [in the Super Cup] and so I don't think there's any logic to Eduardo's case. We have clear proof that from behind he was touched on his right leg.

"There is no common sense. I believe it was a more emotional decision really because if Uefa had said before the season starts, 'Listen, let's get together and no matter what happens in Uefa games, if we suspect someone of diving he will be punished' then you could say, OK, we've always been told they will do that. But suddenly, out from nowhere because it was an emotional situation in Scotland, we have this situation and have to live with that."

And Wenger was also quick to support the English stance on diving: "I think it's a quality in this country. In some countries it is a quality to dive. I'm still more proud to be part of England where they fight against that."

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