Antonio Conte called Victor Moses’s dismissal a “key moment” in his post-match comments after Chelsea surprisingly lost to Arsenal in Saturday’s FA Cup final, but in further comments regarding that unfortunate situation, the Chelsea head coach tried to come up with a reasonable explanation as to why Moses decided to go to ground under zero contact and leave the the referee with very little choice other than to give him a second yellow card.
“There is a lot of tension in these moments and sometimes you could be tired. I don't think if my player dived he did it with a real intention of doing it. We have arrived at the end of the season and many players are tired, and then there is a lot of pressure.”
“It's not a good situation to dive, for sure, but Moses is an honest player and if he did this it's only because he was tired. He didn't want to cheat the referee.”
-Antonio Conte; source: Sky
Conte’s not one to throw players under the bus in public, though this defense may be stretching credibility a bit too much.
The fatigue that Conte refers to could be physical (after a long season) or mental (the pressure of the situation, the celebrations of the fortnight prior, Moses’s own wedding the day after), either of which could’ve caused Victor’s temporary lapse of reason. Moses was probably also expecting contact, as many players do in that situation, but paid the price when the defender pulled out of his tackle at the last second. That sort of “diving” is a rather standard feature of the modern game since penalties are rarely awarded if a player does not go down in a challenge — next season’s retrospective bans could help the situation, but we’ll see if they make much difference at all.
While this incident was hardly anything to be proud of, Moses has been a tremendous story and player this season at Chelsea and that should not be forgotten. Much like for the team at large, while the season ends on a bitter note, in the final reckoning, it’s been a great first year under Antonio Conte.