Gennaro Gattuso has refused to condemn Danny Welbeck over the Arsenal striker's dive in Milan's 3-1 Europa League defeat at the Emirates.
The Gunners marksman appeared to con the match officials by going down very easily under a challenge with I Rossoneri 1-0 up on the night and, after the referee had awarded the hosts a spot kick, Welbeck dusted himself down to slot home from 12 yards.
It proved to be a decisive goal on the evening as Arsenal eventually ran out 3-1 on the night and 5-1 over the two legged last-16 tie, but Gattuso didn't want to criticise Welbeck for diving in quotes attributed to him by the Independent.
Indeed, the Italian admitted that he had also looked to gain 'advantages' during his playing days and, as such, couldn't by hypocritical of the England international.
He said: “He is a striker. He has to do what he does. But we can’t use that as a reference for entire English football. There’s a lot of fair play in England. There was a lot at stake tonight.
"Even myself, when I was a player, I would try and take advantage of some situations. I’m not going to criticise these things.”
"It is cheating..."— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) March 15, 2018
"Players like Dele Alli have been accused of that."
"It was Wenger who said the English are getting better at diving, it was one of his own tonight."@jjenas8 reflects on the Danny Welbeck penalty incident. pic.twitter.com/hR54rPUvbo
Hakan Calhanoglu had given the visitors the lead in the first half as Milan looked to reverse the 2-0 deficit they had from the first leg at San Siro.
However, after Welbeck's equaliser on the night Arsene Wenger's men went on to secure passage to the quarter finals thanks to Granit Xhaka and Welbeck's second of the match.
It proved to be something of a frustrating night for Gattuso as he tried to launch a remarkable comeback over the north Londoners, and that annoyance appeared to spill onto the pitch when he seemingly threw the ball at Gunners defender Nacho Monreal during the contest.
Never been so proud of being a rossonero 🔴⚫️👊🏼 Arsenal fans, on the other hand, are the deadest fans I’ve ever seen. 3000 of us sang for 90 minutes non-stop, and it was as if the home crowd wasn’t even there. Today we lose, but we lose like Spartans. ‘Ooh AC Milan...’ pic.twitter.com/aqFXUfZoqS— Federico Manasse (@FedericoManasse) March 15, 2018
(You may also be interested in Even Arsenal Fans Struggle to Defend Danny Welbeck's Dive to Win Penalty Against AC Milan)
However, the hot-headed boss apologised in the aftermath of the game and explained it wasn't his intention to hurt the Spaniard.
Gattuso added: “I’d like to apologise to Monreal. It might have looked like I threw the ball in his face."