By Ed Elliot, PA
Burnley boss Sean Dyche believes Premier League players are being encouraged to “go down and scream” to win penalties and fears making his team “too clean” could cost them their top-flight futures.
The Clarets were left frustrated following last weekend’s 3-2 defeat at Southampton after striker Chris Wood was denied a clear second-half spot-kick having attempted to stay on his feet.
Dyche, who last month criticised Arsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette for an audible shriek at Turf Moor, is a fierce critic of simulation and has repeatedly opposed players going to ground easily.
He remains reluctant to change that approach but feels current standards of officiating and a lack of desire to resolve the issue may force him into a rethink.
“The message is clearly the opposite; it’s go down and scream because if you go down and scream you get the decision,” replied Dyche when asked if he could continue to urge his players to be honest.
“Weirdly it’s probably the only sport in the world that actively introduces the idea of actually working to get fouls and penalties.
“No one really wants to clean it up, therefore I have got to be careful because I am going to cost my team points by telling them not to go down. Now that’s a bizarre situation to be in.
“I can’t cost these players their futures by not gaining penalties and free-kicks that others do, that would be absurd.
“I have got to be careful with my own team and not make them too clean with the game because the game is saying don’t be.
“The game is saying get on the floor as many times as you can and make as much noise as you can, you will have a better chance of winning the game. But I don’t encourage it, I assure you.”
Top scorer Wood was plainly having his shirt tugged by Southampton defender Jan Bednarek as he went for a diving header in the closing stages of the damaging defeat at St Mary’s.
Despite strong Burnley appeals, referee Andre Marriner failed to point to the spot, while there was no intervention from VAR.
Saints, who had come from two goals down to lead, held on for a precious victory in the battle for survival, with Dyche still rankled by the contentious incident.
“I tried not to say too much after the game because it’s counterproductive, you don’t want to get yourself in trouble; even more bizarre by the way that I get in trouble for questioning something that was quite obviously a penalty,” he continued.
“No one is really that bothered, society is not bothered really, which is an interesting one. All of my life I have known a clear link between children being brought up in schools being taught to play the right way and the rules but nobody is really that bothered.
“If my own players do it I’ve just got to go, ‘OK, I see why’ because my players are getting frustrated.
“There was a show of it against Southampton because you could see Ashley Westwood remonstrating with the referee, remonstrating with linesman, clearly saw that his (Wood’s) shirt was pulled.”
Burnley continue their quest for survival on Sunday at home to fellow strugglers Newcastle.