ROBIN VAN PERSIE has admitted he has exaggerated a fall if he feels the challenge warrants a penalty as the issue of diving continues apace.
The Arsenal striker insists he is against diving but freely admits it is defensible to embellish a tumble if he has been pushed by a defender.
Van Persie’s comments come after his team-mate Eduardo was banned by UEFA for alleged diving against Celtic in the Champions League qualifier although his suspension was subsequently overturned.
Asked if he had exaggerated a fall, Van Persie admitted: “Yes, I did.
“Sometimes when you are in the middle of an action and you get a little push and you know there’s nothing more to take.
“Then you are in the right to show in a way to the ref that you are pushed. That’s not really diving. It’s just showing . . . ‘Come on, he just pushed me, so I can’t score now.’
“You sometimes have a little movement with your arms or with your body, but I don’t think that’s really cheating. It’s never my intention to dive, anyway. It is a bit tricky I have to say because I am against divers. It is just not honest.
“But it is difficult because, sometimes, like I had a little moment against Manchester United (in the 2-1 defeat at Old Trafford last month).
“For example, after the whole Eduardo thing, when I had the ball on the right side and I cut it back.
“(Patrice) Evra gave me a little push – a really little one – but it sort of outbalanced me. I just fell down and the whole stadium started to boo me. I was, like, ‘Come on, can’t you see he pushed me?’
“Some people don’t see these little pushes and they can give you a whole different picture to what the situation really is.
“It doesn’t play on my mind, never, because I always have the intention not to dive. But sometimes you are out of balance, it looks a bit funny.”
Van Persie, meanwhile, has billed Arsenal’s clash against Fulham at Craven Cottage today as a true test of the Gunners’ Barclays Premier League title credentials.
The 26-year-old forward has played in defeats to Manchester United and City this season – but he believes the matches against teams without top-four aspirations are as important, if not more so.
“If you look last year, the way Manchester United became champions was against the smaller teams,’’ the Holland international said.
“They won against all the teams from 19 to 10. That is why they became champions. So it is very important to win these games.
“I had a look at the fixtures coming up and on paper they look all right but we lost to Fulham last year so it is very, very tough.
“It’s going to be hard but as long as we can put the pressure on the opponent, play together and share the goals, then I’m quite confident.”
Van Persie is also determined to fit into a role at the top of Arsene Wenger’s 4-3-3 system and add to his one strike this season – but he is happy if the goals are shared around.
“That is something I have to work on,” he said. “I know that but I’m confident it will be okay very soon.
“I don’t feel that I’m at the top of my game as a main striker yet.
“When you don’t score you are not happy with yourself but the first thing for me is that we win games and I can give assists and help the team. If I have a chance I should score and I need to score.
“The way we are doing it now is that everyone is sharing the goals. I’m quite happy with that but I should score more personally. But as long as we share the goals and everyone is passing it at the right moment, I am happy.’’
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