Premier League Pep Guardiola not keen on diving clampdown

Guardiola believes referees need more assistance from television because they find it difficult to keep up with play.

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Manchester City's manager Pep Guardiola pictured during a Premier League match earlier in May play

Manchester City's manager Pep Guardiola pictured during a Premier League match earlier in May

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Pep Guardiola has questioned the need to ban players for diving, suggesting instead that it would be better to concentrate on giving Premier League referees help by using more video technology.

Guardiola believes referees need more assistance from television because they find it difficult to keep up with play because the game is so quick.

The Football Association has passed new rules to come into force in England next season, which will allow them to use television evidence to sanction divers.

Under the new set-up, a panel will review footage each money to examine cases of alleged diving, with suspensions to be given to any player unanimously found guilty.

However, Manchester City manager Guardiola, who has repeatedly expressed reservations about the quality of officiating at Premier League matches this season, has suggested that the football authorities should focus their attention elsewhere.

Asked if he thought it was necessary to tackle diving, Guardiola said: "No, because everybody makes mistakes. Are we going to review the referees? No. It sometimes happens.

"It doesn't matter what I say. My influence and my opinion don't count. Whatever they decide, we're going to accept and we're going to accept the bans and the cases.

"I think diving is not the most important thing to improve. There are many other things we can improve.

"The referees, the referees they know everything. They are the bosses in those terms. I adapt to the rules, the federation, FIFA, UEFA, what they do for football."

Guardiola's main frustration with referees this season is that, in his view, they are less likely to award fouls than officials in Spain and Germany.

However, he also feels that referees find it increasingly difficult to keep up with the fast pace of top-level football, and has suggested that they need the assistance of video technology.

He said: "Sooner or later that is going to happen. The technology will help the referees to be more fair about what happens in the game to make fewer mistakes because there are a lot of mistakes.

"Football today is quicker, it's faster. Before referees arrive to see a situation, the players are much, much faster that's why they need technology."

Guardiola, meanwhile, has warned Chelsea that City will give them a much closer run next season.

The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager has suffered a frustrating first year in England, and is destined to end a season without a trophy for the first time as a coach.

His team go into Sunday's final Premier League match at Watford lying 15 points behind Antonio Conte's champions.

Guardiola believes too many home draws this season – seven in all – have stopped his team from mounting a proper title challenge.

He has called on his players to make sure none of their rivals can pull away so easily next season.

Guardiola said: "We were not in the title race until the end. Normally the big teams always fight until the end, and after that you can win or lose.

"In the Premier League, we didn't fight until the end for the results because two teams were better than us and we dropped a lot of points at home. We must improve on that next season.

"Depending on what happens the day after tomorrow, we are going to finish maybe 15 points behind the first and the second.

"The gap to the leaders is big. We have to have to work harder next season to reduce that gap.

"We had periods where we won three games in a row here at home. During the season, it was not easy, and we dropped a lot of points at home.

"We still have 95, 96 minutes to fight to do one thing that's so important for the club and the future, to be in the Champions League."

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