Everton manager Roberto Martinez has jumped to the defence of midfielder Ross Barkley after the latest diving criticism.
Barkley received a booking in the game against Manchester City on Saturday afternoon when he went down under pressure from Frank Lampard, although replays have since shown the decision to be an incorrect one.
This incident follows one of similar nature last month where he was accused of diving in the 2-1 win over West Ham at Goodison Park, with replays of that incident going against him. Martinez was quick to defend his star on that occasion and has done so again this time around. He has instead expressed his disappointment at the yellow card, questioning how referee Andre Marriner gave Manchester City a match-winning penalty for a similar type of incident yet booked Barkley.
"I couldn't believe the yellow card. I'm more hurt by that than the penalty decision," said the Everton boss. "The penalty was two bodies coming together and then you see the same action, but because Ross is involved then he gets a yellow card." The Spaniard has even gone as far as to suggest that the incident against West Ham United, and the subsequent attention it garnered, has now brought attention onto Barkley, meaning he is receiving unfair treatment from match officials.
Ross Barkley has also moved to assure people he isn't a diver, insisting that he doesn't ever intend to dive. The 21 year echoed the sentiments of his manager old, believing the controversy caused by the incident in the West Ham game is now weighing on the mind of match officials and led to his booking yesterday afternoon. The midfielder has pointed out that he was simply expecting contact from the challenging players, and that there was such contact from Lampard. He also says that his reaction, in which he simply gets up and carries on, proves he isn't a diver.
Of course the penalty and booking weren't the only incidents that Everton were upset about during the narrow loss. A high and dangerous challenge from Fernando on Gareth Barry gained a furious reaction from manager Martinez. That challenge followed a similar high foot from Elaquim Mangala on striker Samuel Eto'o that received similar indignation.
What did you think of the referee's performance? Do you think Barkley should have been booked? Share your thoughts in the comments below.