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AC Milan boss Rino Gattuso after losing to Arsenal: I won’t use Danny Welbeck’s dive as an alibi

PUBLISHED: 10:37 16 March 2018 | UPDATED: 10:37 16 March 2018

A.C. Milan manager Gennaro Gattuso before the Europa League match between Arsenal and A.C. Milan at the Emirates Stadium, North London. Picture: Danny Loo

A.C. Milan manager Gennaro Gattuso before the Europa League match between Arsenal and A.C. Milan at the Emirates Stadium, North London. Picture: Danny Loo

Danny Loo Photography 2018

It has been the talking point of the week – did Arsenal’s Danny Welbeck dive to win a penalty against AC Milan at a crucial point in the match? While the answer most certainly had to be a resounding ‘yes’ Rossoneri boss Rino Gattuso was phlegmatic in his reaction.

GOAL! Danny Welbeck goes down in the box to win a penalty under a challenge from Ricardo Rodriguez in the Europa League match between Arsenal and A.C. Milan at the Emirates Stadium, North London. Picture: Danny LooGOAL! Danny Welbeck goes down in the box to win a penalty under a challenge from Ricardo Rodriguez in the Europa League match between Arsenal and A.C. Milan at the Emirates Stadium, North London. Picture: Danny Loo

Milan’s Hakan Calhanoglu put the Rossoneri 1-0 up on 35 minutes with a stunning 30 yard curler past David Opsina on 35 minutes.

However four minutes later Arsenal responded to the challenge by increasing their intensity which saw Welbeck charge into the box.

GOAL! Danny Welbeck goes down in the box to win a penalty under a challenge from Ricardo Rodriguez in the Europa League match between Arsenal and A.C. Milan at the Emirates Stadium, North London. Picture: Danny LooGOAL! Danny Welbeck goes down in the box to win a penalty under a challenge from Ricardo Rodriguez in the Europa League match between Arsenal and A.C. Milan at the Emirates Stadium, North London. Picture: Danny Loo

Ricardo Rodriguez – a Swiss team-mate of Granit Xhaka – struggled to get goalside of the onrushing forward. It was bad defending from the Zurich-born former Wolfsburg left-back and as he continued his diagonal run across Welbeck the Arsenal forward fell to the ground – albeit after minimal contact.

At first glance it looked like a harsh penalty – and the second and third views didn’t change any minds.

GOAL! Danny Welbeck appeals to the official behind the goal after going down in the box under a challenge from Ricardo Rodriguez in the Europa League match between Arsenal and A.C. Milan at the Emirates Stadium, North London. Picture: Danny LooGOAL! Danny Welbeck appeals to the official behind the goal after going down in the box under a challenge from Ricardo Rodriguez in the Europa League match between Arsenal and A.C. Milan at the Emirates Stadium, North London. Picture: Danny Loo

Call it simulation, going to ground too easily or simply a dive, the fact was Welbeck picked himself up to slot home the penalty Swedish referee Jonas Eriksson had awarded to make it 1-1.

The goal came at a crucial juncture in the match and had many pundits angry at Welbeck.

GOAL! A.C. Milan players contest the penalty decision in the Europa League match between Arsenal and A.C. Milan at the Emirates Stadium, North London. Picture: Danny LooGOAL! A.C. Milan players contest the penalty decision in the Europa League match between Arsenal and A.C. Milan at the Emirates Stadium, North London. Picture: Danny Loo

However Milan boss Gattuso, who won the 2006 World Cup, along with a host of silverware at the San Siro including two Champions League trophies was more accepting of the decision afterwards at the Emirates.

He said: “He [Welbeck] is a striker. He has to do what he does. We can’t use that as a reference for the entire English football.

GOAL! A.C. Milan players contest the penalty decision in the Europa League match between Arsenal and A.C. Milan at the Emirates Stadium, North London. Picture: Danny LooGOAL! A.C. Milan players contest the penalty decision in the Europa League match between Arsenal and A.C. Milan at the Emirates Stadium, North London. Picture: Danny Loo

“There’s a great deal of fair play in England. Of course tonight there was a lot at stake.

“I won’t use [the dive] as an alibi [as an excuse for the defeat].”

GOAL! Danny Welbeck steps up to equalise from the spot in the Europa League match between Arsenal and A.C. Milan at the Emirates Stadium, North London. Picture: Danny LooGOAL! Danny Welbeck steps up to equalise from the spot in the Europa League match between Arsenal and A.C. Milan at the Emirates Stadium, North London. Picture: Danny Loo

Arsenal boss Arsenal Wenger reverted to type by saying he hadn’t seen the incident but would have an ‘honest conversation’ with the former Manchester United player in the aftermath of the controversy.

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