Tottenham's Dele Alli has been at the fore of criticism surrounding the increasing prevalence of diving culture in the Premier League but the England international has hit back at claims labelling him as a cheat as he insisted he simply gets 'fouled a lot'.
The 21-year-old has picked up several yellow cards for simulation which has earned him the unwanted reputation of going to ground too easily but Alli insists he has done nothing wrong, and that he cannot control other people's opinions and perceptions of how he plays.
Speaking to the Mirror, Alli said: “Nobody wants to be labelled as a cheat. It’s an opinion and everyone has a different opinion. I get into the box a lot and round the box, and I’m an attacking player and I get a lot of fouls.
"That’s the beauty of football. It’s all about opinions, but the main one that matters to me is my family’s and my coaches.
Alli did admit a number of his falls to ground do look 'bad' in real time but he stressed his intention is never to seek an unfair advantage.
WHY DOES DELE ALLI DIVE EVERY GAME!!! actually ridiculous... needs some sort of ban.— Mikey (@MaitIandesque) March 7, 2018
He added: "I’m confident in what I believe in, what they believe in and what the manager sees. There are some that look bad.
"It’s different when you are in the action. The one at Crystal Palace, that’s the one I saw a lot of reaction to. I was running through and, at the time, all was going through my head was that I didn’t want to step on the keeper.
"But when you watch it back and people start saying stuff, it can look a lot different. That’s why I think it’s important that players, not just about diving, about other stuff too, that you don’t get too involved in it and just focus on what you are doing. As long as your main focus is football, then that’s all you need to think about.”
With Tottenham's last remaining hopes of silverware this season resting solely on the FA Cup Alli is aware Spurs' progress in recent seasons needs to be validated by something tangible, ensuring the quarter final clash against Swansea is a must win game.
Alli said: "We believe in ourselves, every game we go into we feel like we should win. It’s not always the case, but we've got to have that mentality to be winners and win stuff.
"There is no point coming so close like we have the last two years, you know second place almost feels as bad as finishing bottom. You want to win stuff, so I think we need to.”