Ferguson 'has a word' about Young diving

Ashley Young's theatrical antics on the pitch have earned him comparisons with British Olympic diver Tom Daley, but they may be at an end after Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson said on Friday he had "had a word" with the player.

Young has been accused of diving during United's recent matches against Queens Park Rangers and his former club Aston Villa with critics rounding on him for going down too easily to earn his side penalties.

Chelsea's Didier Drogba fuelled the debate about simulation with his regular bouts of rolling around in apparent agony against Barcelona in midweek, although his manager Roberto Di Matteo saw no problem with his antics.

Ferguson, speaking to reporters at United's Carrington training ground before Sunday's match against Everton at Old Trafford, said he had spoken to the 26-year-old England winger about his actions.

"I have had a word with Ashley," said Ferguson.

"He understands where we are coming from. Hopefully it makes a difference."

Ferguson added: "Last week [against Villa], if the player doesn't bring Ashley down he is going to score. It was a clear goal-scoring opportunity.

"He caught him and he did overdo the attempt to get a penalty. I am not sure he tried to get the penalty but he certainly went down quickly.

"But people have reacted because it is Manchester United."

However, Ferguson said he thought diving was again becoming prevalent in the game.

"I watched Real Madrid and Bayern Munich the other night and it was absolutely ridiculous, players were diving and rolling about, nothing like what Young has been accused of," he said.

"Then you see the other night in the Chelsea game, we are in an age where you expect it now."

Drogba, who scored the only goal in his side's 1-0 win over Barcelona, was widely criticised in the media and by some present and former players for going down far too easily throughout the game.

Asked about the criticism of Drogba on Friday, however, Di Matteo said: "Everybody is entitled to an opinion, but he was marked by two men for most of the game and came under a physical battering, so we have to be objective in our reaction.

"Our players are fair. Everybody has their own style but we are a fair team. He was very helpful to the team [against Barcelona], gave us an outlet and scored a vital goal so we were pleased."


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