'Diving' Olsson's critics anger Allardyce

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The Independent Football

The Blackburn Rovers manager Sam Allardyce yesterday defended Martin Olsson against the barrage of criticism faced by the young player this week.

Olsson has been roundly condemned for apparently claiming he dived to win the penalty that enabled Blackburn to beat Burnley in their local derby on Sunday. The 21-year-old is reported to have said he "took a chance" when he noticed the outstretched leg of goalkeeper Brian Jenson, and that he "maybe... overplayed my fall a little bit".

Allardyce insists the Swedish winger's comments have been twisted, but despite that, has still been forced to take internal action to underline the fact he does not condone such behaviour. "I'm not sure that Martin said what he did, but unfortunately for him and us, he's been criticised unfairly," said Allardyce. "We all know he has gone down easily, anticipating a challenge that was going to come. From where I was sat there was no doubt my mind it was a penalty. From Mike Dean's position there was no doubt as well, but we can see from other angles after the game that it wasn't. The times we've been hard done by outweighs 10-fold the fact we got this one."

In contrast, Allardyce feels barely a mention will be made of the penalty won by Cesc Fabregas on Wednesday that earned Arsenal a draw in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final with Barcelona. "If that wasn't a dive either, then what was?" added Allardyce. "I'm sure there won't be the same fuss about that as there was about Martin, who has been slaughtered. I don't condone [Olsson's dive]," Allardyce said. "We've dealt with it internally, gone through our code of conduct to say it wasn't right. I've spoken to Martin about it, he's accepted it, and we move on."