Dyche concerned referees are moving away from ‘light touch’ protocol
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Back in August, officials were told to let small, niggly fouls go – to allow some contact back into the game and help make it more free-flowing.
It wasn’t popular with some managers, with Jurgen Klopp saying after the Clarets’ visit to Anfield in the second game of the campaign: “We always had to be ready for a proper fight. We were today in a really difficult game, because you saw these challenges with (Ashley) Barnes and (Chris) Wood and Virgil (Van Dijk) and Joel (Matip).
“I’m not 100% sure if we are really going in the right direction with these kind of decisions. It feels like we go back 10, 15 years back to when we said ‘oh, that was the football we wanted to see’. It’s just too dangerous.
“It’s all fine, we need to get used to it, but I think we have to think about it maybe a second or a third time.
“There’s one message now, let the game flow, and now nobody knows exactly what that means.
“I like all decisions in favour for the offensive team, that’s fine. But we have to stick to protecting the players.
“We cannot deny that completely and say ‘that’s a challenge, I love watching that’. Then watch wrestling if you like these kind of things.”
Burnley, of course, are on a Premier League record 119 games without a red card, stretching back to Robbie Brady’s dismissal at Huddersfield Town in January 2019.
But Dyche – for a long time a lone voice in the game as regards clamping down on diving – wonders if that lighter touch is still being applied after a number of mystifying refereeing displays recently at Turf Moor.
There has been nothing that has directly influenced a game, but Dyche feels soft fouls are creeping back into the game.
He said: "I don't want to cry it in too much, but what I'm worried about at the minute is the performance from the referee on Saturday is going back to two years ago.
"I think we had a really good year last year, when I think everyone - fans alike - seemed happy the game was flowing more.
"On Saturday, there were so many, I thought, nothing situations that were penalised.
"Westy got booked and I don't think he even touched the man, I've seen it back and I don't think he physically touched him, so I'm a little bit worried it's going to start going backwards.
"The last few weeks I've seen it again where players are falling on the floor and referees are giving them immediately, and I thought there were too many of those on Saturday.
"But that was nothing to do with the result, by the way, we didn't take care of the result, but the bigger picture of what's going on, I don't think fans - I certainly don't want to see it go back to where it was - but over the last three, four weeks I've been seeing it again, and I must say I saw it on Saturday, players going down far too easily and the referee giving fouls.”