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AVB says Bale is frustrated by diving label

Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas. Photo credit: Stephen Pond/EMPICS Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas. Photo credit: Stephen Pond/EMPICS

Monday, December 3, 2012
8:02 AM

Andre Villas-Boas insists Gareth Bale is not a diver and has revealed the Tottenham winger is becoming increasingly frustrated at claims he goes to ground too easily.

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Bale picked up his second yellow card in two games for simulation in Tottenham’s 3-0 victory at Fulham on Saturday.

Bale, charging at the Cottagers defence at speed, went down under a challenge from Steve Sidwell and referee Chris Foy cautioned the 23-year-old, although replays showed the Fulham midfielder had caught the Welshman’s trailing leg.

The former Southampton player received a caution for the same offence on Wednesday after going down following a challenge with Daniel Agger, and again, replays showed there was contact.

Bale’s unhappiness at being booked again was clear when he sarcastically applauded Foy for his decision yesterday, and Villas-Boas admits the player is annoyed at gaining a reputation for diving.

“Yes, he is frustrated about it,” the Tottenham manager said.

“It is difficult for him, particularly in the last two games.

“If he has a reputation I think it’s a little bit unfair... the last two have been unfair.

“I think he uses it as a precaution from different types of challenges. I’m not saying all of the players that challenge Gareth are malicious but the action is so quick that it might look like it’s not a foul while it is.”

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers met with referees’ chief Mike Riley earlier this season after he became unhappy with officials’ treatment of Luis Suarez, but Villas-Boas has no plans to do the same about Bale.

“No, I don’t think so,” said Villas-Boas when asked whether he would talk to Riley, head of the Professional Game Match Officials group.

“It’s difficult for the referees to judge at that speed.”

Bale’s afternoon went from bad to worse in the second half as he hobbled off with a hamstring injury after he stretched while shooting at Mark Schwarzer.

The 23-year-old, who has been in top form for the Londoners this season, is expected to be out for two weeks, but Villas-Boas is confident his side will be able to cope without their star winger.

Villas-Boas said: “Gareth is a very important player for us and he definitely will be missed, but it was good to see Clint Dempsey on the left. He changed the range of movements that he does and he got the ball a lot more with more freedom.

“We are fortunate because after Panathinaikos and Everton, the Premier League stops for one week. It will give us time to reassess.”

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Tottenham Hotspur

Nickname: The Lilywhites.

Ground: White Hart Lane (capacity 36,310).

Founded: 1882.

Honours: First Division (until 1992) and Premier League: 1951, 1961

Second Division: 1920, 1950.

Southern League: 1900.

FA Cup: 1901, 1921, 1961, 1962, 1967, 1981, 1982, 1991.

League Cup: 1971, 1973, 1999, 2008.

Uefa Cup: 1972, 1984.

Cup Winners’ Cup: 1963.

Leading goalscorers: Jimmy Greaves, 379.

Leading appearances: Steve Perryman, 854.