Ander Herrera apologises for diving
Ander Herrera has owned up to diving to try to win a penalty in Monday night's 1-0 Primera Division win at Getafe, and said he hoped other players would follow his lead in admitting when they had tried to con referees.
• Hesse: Falling down
With his side holding a narrow lead late in the game at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez, the midfielder went down just inside the opposition area with no defender close enough to have made contact. Referee Jesus Gil Manzano was not impressed and immediately stopped play to show Herrera a yellow card.
The former -- and maybe future -- Manchester United target told El Primer Toque after the game that he was happy Gil Manzano had seen the dive and on reflection he was sorry he had even tried it.
"I was wrong," Herrera said. "We always complain about the referees, and I did not help them. I hope I am the first of some others [players who admit mistakes]. I am happy that he did not whistle for the penalty, as I would have left as a liar and I do not want to be one. I was wrong -- I thought we could take the game in that moment, but over and above the result there is sportsmanship. Tricking the referee is not part of that."
Athletic won the game through an early Aymeric Laporte header, with Diego Castro surprisingly missing a chance to equalise from the penalty spot having scored his previous 16 spot-kicks.
The result leaves the Basque side just one point behind fourth placed Villarreal in the table, however Herrera warned it was very early to be talking about Champions League qualification.
"It is nice to be up here, but we have to be prudent," he said. "It sounds a bit boring to always say we just go from game to game, but it has to be like that. There is Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid and Barcelona, and the rest are very similar, anyone can beat anyone.
"We have the right to dream. Last season I remember at the start of the season we were all talking about having a ‘Champions League team' and then we only saved ourselves from relegation with two games to go. This is the path, we are able to play better football, but being up there is good for the players, and our fans."