Decision to book Adnan Januzaj for diving was wrong, says Manchester United manager David Moyes

The youngster is gaining a reputation for play acting

David Moyes has thrown a protective arm around Adnan Januzaj and insisted the youngster's latest booking for diving was wrong.

The 18-year-old received his third yellow card of the season for simulation on New Year's Day, when he went down under Danny Rose's challenge on the edge of the area during the latter stages of Manchester United's 2-1 defeat by Tottenham at Old Trafford.

Januzaj now has the unwelcome tag of being the second worst offender for diving in Premier League history, behind only Gareth Bale and the worry must be he is developing a reputation that will eventually go against him.

Moyes has never been scared to confront the diving scourge, and previously this season declared an intention to speak to Januzaj in an effort to stamp it out of his game.

However, in this instance, the United boss feels his duty is to stand up for Januzaj as he remains convinced referee Howard Webb made a mistake.

"I am always the first one to come out and say I won't have players diving and I will deal with it," said Moyes, ahead of Sunday's FA Cup tie with Swansea.

"In the same breath, I am going to protect them when I think it is wrong. I thought it was wrong the other night."

Moyes hopes the diving stigma will not attach itself to Januzaj due to his immense talent.

It could be argued both Bale and former Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo escaped extreme negative publicity because of their ability to get a crowd on the edge of their seats.

And, whilst Januzaj evidently has much development ahead of him, his manager feels there are similarities.

"Adnan is such a talented footballer," said Moyes.

"I have no doubt he will go on to be one of the best players to be playing in this country for a long time, and probably even at Manchester United.

"I remember when (Cristiano) Ronaldo came over, a lot of people said the same thing about him.

"Not for a minute would I even try and compare him to Ronaldo because of how good he is. But the boy is only 18. He will get better. He will learn. He will understand the game more.

"What he is doing at the moment is making a contribution in games as a footballer."

Januzaj only has to look at Ashley Young for an example of how divers can find themselves being wronged.

Whilst it would be unfair to say officials take an especially hard line with those who have transgressed in the past, common sense would dictate they err on the side of caution.

That would seem to be the only plausible reason why Webb did not award a penalty for Hugo Lloris' high tackle on Young at Old Trafford in midweek, a challenge so severe the in-form England winger faces a spell on the sidelines with a shoulder injury sustained as he fell.

"The level of the tackle meant Ashley has fallen on his shoulder and damaged it," said Moyes.

"We're not sure exactly how long he's going to be out yet.

"I don't think I need to repeat myself. We didn't get a penalty kick decision which I found quite incredible - and still do."

With a Capital One Cup semi-final at Sunderland looming just 48 hours after Sunday's game, which Moyes was staggered to learn will be preceded by the fourth-round draw some two-and-a-half hours before kick-off, the United boss has pledged to rotate his squad.

Wayne Rooney could be amongst those to be rested at the weekend as he continues to nurse a groin problem, although Moyes' room for manoeuvre is limited by Robin van Persie's ongoing absence with a thigh complaint which currently extends to six matches.

"Robin's coming on but we'll let you know when he's ready," said Moyes.

It does seem somewhat bizarre both United and Sunderland have been given just 48 hours to prepare for their encounter at the Stadium of Light.

Tellingly, Moyes avoided a direct answer to whether he felt the fixture schedule was fair.

"They (game's authorities) would see it as being fair," he said.

"Two teams play on Sunday and the same two play on Tuesday.

"To their eyes, that is them being fair."

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest in Sport
Sport
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

Solved after 200 years

The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

Sunken sub

Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

Age of the selfie

Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

Not so square

How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

Still carrying the torch

The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes
The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise

The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis...

...but history suggests otherwise
The bald truth: How one author's thinning hair made him a Wayne Rooney sympathiser

The bald truth

How thinning hair made me a Wayne Rooney sympathiser
Froome wins second Tour de France after triumphant ride into Paris with Team Sky

Tour de France 2015

Froome rides into Paris to win historic second Tour
Fifteen years ago, Concorde crashed, and a dream died. Today, the desire to travel faster than the speed of sound is growing once again

A new beginning for supersonic flight?

Concorde's successors are in the works 15 years on from the Paris crash
I would never quit Labour, says Liz Kendall

I would never quit party, says Liz Kendall

Latest on the Labour leadership contest
Froome seals second Tour de France victory

Never mind Pinot, it’s bubbly for Froome

Second Tour de France victory all but sealed
Oh really? How the 'lowest form of wit' makes people brighter and more creative

The uses of sarcasm

'Lowest form of wit' actually makes people brighter and more creative
A magazine editor with no vanity, and lots of flair

No vanity, but lots of flair

A tribute to the magazine editor Ingrid Sischy
Foraging: How the British rediscovered their taste for chasing after wild food

In praise of foraging

How the British rediscovered their taste for wild food