• Premier League

Bale holds discussion with referees over diving

ESPN staff
December 14, 2012
Andre Villas-Boas: Gareth Bale's not a diver

Tottenham Hotspur winger Gareth Bale has held talks with a referees' representatives after being booked for simulation four times this season, manager Andre Villas-Boas has said.

Villas-Boas said Wales international Bale had taken the opportunity to explain his version of events, and added that he felt his star player's reputation for diving was "unfair".

"We received a visit [from a referees' representative] this past week, and me and Gareth spoke to him about this situation," the Spurs boss said. "Gareth has gone through a difficult time in his career, with potentially career-threatening injuries, and sometimes, at the pace he goes, it looks like a dive when the player is actually protecting himself.

"He has told me he doesn't mind what kind of reputation he might gain as he doesn't try to do it. He avoids opponents, he avoids tackles at high pace. It is very, very difficult for the referee to judge, and we recognise that. If he gains a tag for diving it's unfair, but it doesn't bother him in any way or form."

Villas-Boas also explained that Spurs had been working on the defensive problems that have seen them concede late goals, with two injury-time goals leading to a 2-1 defeat at Goodison Park on Sunday.

"Sometimes you suffer goals because you play openly, sometimes because you make a mistake" he said. "We are the third most attacking team in the country, and that can come at a price. Manchester United are the most attacking team in the country and they have conceded just two less goals than us.

"Obviously this is something we want to correct. We want to improve our goals difference and it is something we recognise and want to do better. One way to solve this is to set out to win, as we do, and try to be two or three goals ahead of the opponent to avoid this happening."

He said the Tottenham coaching staff had been "telling the players about the positives of what we have been doing and trying to correct the negatives also".

Spurs midfielder Scott Parker could be in line to make his first appearance of the season in Sunday's Premier League game against Swansea at White Hart Lane.

Bale, however, is likely to miss the match as he continues his recovery from a hamstring injury.

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