Alan Pardew has revealed his concern at the reaction to what he viewed as Christian Benteke’s dive against Crystal Palace, believing players should be criticised for such conduct.
Liverpool’s Benteke went down in the area after minimal contact with Palace’s Damien Delaney and was awarded the stoppage-time penalty from which he secured Liverpool’s 2-1 win. The decision was the subject of our Ref Review panel and also received plenty of commentary in the media, with Delaney himself slamming the decision.
Pardew accused the striker of diving but is wary that in the modern culture it is seen by some as acceptable to fall in the pursuit of a decision if contact is made. The retired Jamie Carragher is among those whose view of the incident he was unhappy with, and in the build-up to Palace’s FA Cup quarter-final at Reading on Friday, the manager said: “The debate that followed the penalty worries me slightly.
“Because a lot of professional players, a lot of players who have played the game were saying things like, ‘Of course he played for it because he got a touch’. And we get accused as coaches and managers of coaching that, and I have never seen, any of my coaches coach it or encourage it.
“That worries me that some people have found that acceptable. A foul is a foul and if it is a foul it should be given. I still maintain that was not a foul.
“When you look at the decision you have to say, ‘Okay what do the official body think of it?’ Well the linesman hasn’t got a game this week. Maybe that tells you.
“The situation is that I could easily say to my players ‘If anyone gets touched in the box, go down’. I could easily say that but I don’t want to.
“If someone hinders your progress and you’re going to go down, you go down. I still maintain that it was a really tough decision to be given against us.”
Friday’s visit to the Madejski Stadium will reunite Pardew with Reading manager Brian McDermott, who he first appointed to the club as chief scout before leaving for West Ham in 2003.
Pardew also last week recruited Andy Hughes – who played under him at Reading – to his coaching staff at Palace and, at a time when he could soon come under pressure because of his team’s inability to win in the league since December 19, this week turned to Steve Coppell for advice.
Coppell managed a Palace team featuring Pardew to the 1990 FA Cup final before succeeding him at Reading, who he led to the Premier League, and Pardew – who again has Jason Puncheon and Wayne Hennessey available after injury – said: “I got Steve Coppell to come in (to talk to me and Palace’s coaching staff).
“It was nice to see him back here. I showed him around a little bit, he reminisced with a few of his ex-players, Brighty (Mark Bright) and (John) Salako.
“It was good to see him. It was good to share some moments, because I was a player at that time; I only recalled it as a player, and it is different for the manager.
“I leaned on him about his experiences of that run (to the 1990 Cup final), and what he was feeling as the manager, and it was nice to talk to him, and reminisce.”