Gianluca Vialli: Sometimes players should go down to win games

Last Updated: 02/02/14 3:04pm

Gianluca Vialli says English players are increasingly understanding about the "Italian approach" to diving.

A number of English players, including Manchester United's Ashley Young and Liverpool's Raheem Sterling, have been accused of going to ground too easily to win penalties for their clubs in the Premier League this season.

Former Chelsea player and manager Vialli has experienced life in both the Premier League and in Serie A and says attitudes towards staying on your feet are different in each country.

And while he does not condone blatant cheating, he says the view in Italy is that it is professional to try to earn an advantage for your team.

"In Italy we have a mentality more like Machiavelli where the end justifies the means," said Vialli on Goals on Sunday.

"The purpose is to win the game and whatever it takes you need to win the game. If you're in the penalty box and someone touches you then why do you want to stay up? Just go down. You might get a penalty and you might win the game, which is wrong.

"In Italy from a very early age they teach you a lot about professionalism, how to look after yourself, tactics and techniques - but they don't teach you about the values and principles of the game which is something that happens in England.

"I think that you have learned very fast and now I can see English players diving better than Italian players, for example.

"Having said that I think there is a thin line between cheating and diving and making sure that a foul is a foul and the referee sees that it is a foul.

"What is the point in trying to stay up when you know it was a foul and you've been kicked or pushed?"


However, Vialli loves the English approach to football and is keen to ensure the match-fixing scandals that have blighted the sport in his homeland do not occur on these shores.

Several arrests were made by the National Crime Agency at the end of last year over suspicions of fixing English football matches and Vialli says it's vital that the game's integrity is protected.

He added: "Italy is great. I'm Italian and proud to be Italian, but Italian football is not always that good.

"Sometimes you lose a match and you don't know if the referee has fixed it or your players have fixed it or something else has happened. Italian football is great, but in the last few years we've had a few problems off the pitch that made it a bit trickier for fans to think it's a clean game.

"Sometimes I played in games where I felt the referees were behaving in ways that I got suspicious a few times. I was lucky.

"If I may say something, you guys don't know what you have because what you have is fantastic. English sport and Premier League football is fantastic, but you need to look after it.

"You had a problem a couple of months ago, a small problem with match fixing and betting, so do your best to preserve what you have because what you have is really special.

"Italians didn't and we had a few problems."