Van Dijk admits pre-penalty gamesmanship

Virgil van Dijk admitted he tampered with the penalty spot in a desperate bid to stop Arsenal from scoring the late winner on Saturday.

Southampton: Van Dijk admits pre-penalty gamesmanshipSouthampton: Van Dijk admits pre-penalty gamesmanship

The Southampton defender said he would do anything to prevent the opposition scoring a goal, but it was not enough as Santo Cazorla converted the spot-kick for the Gunners’ 2-1 win.

The centre-back received a yellow card after kicking up the turf around the spot moments before the Spaniard stepped up to take it in stoppage time.

Van Dijk admitted he was ready to try anything to prevent the 31-year-old from netting a winning goal after team-mate Jose Fonte was deemed to have fouled Gunners striker Olivier Giroud.

“It’s a penalty in the last minute so you try to do anything to prevent the goal and that’s what I did but it didn’t work,” said Van Dijk.

“Giroud was saying there was contact from both and it can’t be a penalty, it’s a big decision in the last minute of the game. It’s not in our favour and it hurts.

“It was pretty strange and there were players on our side who were also looking a bit confused. They get the penalty and they score it so we are very disappointed.

“I’m a winner and I want to win obviously and to lose like this is hard. We need to blame ourselves because we had the opportunities and we should have done better.”

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