Kewell admits 'technically' diving

January 24, 2012
By Angela Habashy

Melbourne Victory star recruit Harry Kewell admits he may have dived to win a penalty in Sunday's 4-1 drubbing by Perth but insists his actions were not deliberate.

And the Victory have responded swiftly to their worst performance of the season, signing former Socceroos defender Mark Milligan on loan from Japanese club JEF United until the end of the season.

Kewell, who copped plenty of criticism for his performance on Sunday, was already on a yellow card for his studs-up challenge on Glory defender Steve Pantelidis and escaped a second for his apparent theatrical attempt to win the penalty.

But the former Leeds and Liverpool star explained the move was more about instinct than drama.

"Technically maybe the second one was a dive," Kewell said.

"But sometimes people don't understand when you are in full motion and a defender sticks his leg out but he brings it in, you've already seen that.

"You are always trying to adjust to get past him, but then that off-puts your balance.

"People may say 'they didn't touch you' but the intent was there and that's the difference between if you do get a penalty and you don't get a penalty.

"It's not that we intend to dive but we see a lot quicker than everyone else sees."

Pantelidis however went as far as to say Kewell is "protected" by the A-League referees because of his star status.

"Wow, me?," a surprised Kewell reacted.

"Did you not see their first penalty?" he said in reference to the challenge between Adrian Leijer and Todd Howarth which resulted in a penalty for Perth.

"If (I'm a protected species) than why do I have bruises and scrapes down my shins all the time.

"It's part and parcel of football, and you take the good with the bad."

The Victory were humbled in arguably their worst showing this season on Sunday, the loss leaving then a worrying four points adrift of sixth-placed Sydney ahead of Thursday's crucial clash with the Sky Blues at AAMI Park.

But Kewell says they'll use the humiliation to fuel them against Sydney.

"We know we played terrible, we know we got battered," he said.

"We can't think about it too much, but we have to at least know from that experience that we don't want to go through that again.

"It's been our team all season, one minute we're hot, the next we're cold.

"But the good thing about this team is that we are enthusiastic and we want to correct it and there's no better time to correct it than against one of our biggest rivals Sydney."

New Victory coach Jim Magilton was forthright with his disappointment on Sunday, revealing the performance was enough to make him want to bring in some new faces.

He achieved that by luring former Sydney FC and Newcastle player Milligan on Tuesday.

The Victory also confirmed they'll part ways with Brazilian Ricardinho, freeing up a marquee spot on the club's list.