Troy Deeney and Tim Sherwood have both defended Son Heung-min’s decision to go down when he felt Scott McTominay’s hand on his face in the first half against Manchester United.
Even though United emerged 3-1 winners from the game, the decision to rule out Edison Cavani’s first-half goal has been one of the biggest talking points from the match.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer came out after the game and blasted Son for milking the incident while some pundits have been extremely critical of referee Chris Kavanagh’s decision to disallow the goal after reviewing the alleged fouled on the touchline monitor.
Deeney has now stated that referees encourage players to go down when they are fouled and often do not give fouls when players stay on their feet. The Watford skipper put the blame solely on Kavanagh for blowing for the foul.
Reacting to the Son-McTominay controversy, the striker told talkSPORT Breakfast: “You are told to [go down if there’s contact]. Managers tell you… refs will tell you. I’ll probably get in trouble for this, but oh well.
“If I get smashed and I don’t go down it’s like, ‘oh play on, you’re a big guy, you can look after yourself’.
“But if you do go down it’s like, ‘oh, it’s blatantly obvious so I can give that now’.
“They do it outside of the penalty area, it’s been happening for years, if someone goes down in the middle of the park it’s safe, blow the whistle, ‘I won’t get in trouble for that’.
“I would expect to be hammered and ridiculed if I went down like that. Not just by the fans but my friends as well.
“If it won us the game, though, it would be worth it. That’s always the argument. But morally is it right? Not for me.
“So I think the referee has to take a huge look at himself for that decision.”
Sherwood also seconded Deeney’s assessment, insisting that he does not blame Son for going down after feeling contact from the Man Utd midfielder.
When asked if he would tell his players do what the South Korean did, the former Spurs interim boss said: “I think you have to. As much as you don’t want to, unless the officials are stronger and stamp it out…
“I’ve seen it in games where players have had contact on them and they’re entitled to hit the floor, but they try to stay on their feet instead and nothing is given!
“Referees should look at that and realise they have been hampered. So I think referees have to be stronger on it.
“As a manager, if my team comes in, it’s 0-0 and one of my players stayed on their feet to try and score after getting contact in the box, I would be saying to them: ‘Why have you not hit the floor? Hit the floor!’
“Unfortunately, it’s just the only way we’re going to get decisions.
“I thought it was a little bit embarrassing for Son to go down like that but, you know what, I don’t necessarily blame him.
“The only way players are going to get decisions now is by hitting the floor, unfortunately. It’s up to the officials to make that decision and that’s the only deterrent to stop players throwing themselves on the floor screaming.
“In that game, the referee’s been made up by the VAR, for me, there’s no reason to look at it. He called it right on the field, it was never a foul and it was a great goal from Cavani.
“But because the VAR is telling the referee to look at the monitor, he’s obviously then looking for something to rule out the goal. Yes, there was contact, but not enough to rule out the goal. I think it was a disgrace.”
Spurs Web Opinion
Whatever one thinks about the use of VAR and Kavanagh’s decision to disallow the goal, Son certainly cannot be faulted for not staying on his feet. We have seen time and again that players often go down screaming at the slightest of touches to bring it to the referee’s attention. So the Tottenham star is by no means the worst offender.
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