Wayne Rooney has urged his Derby side to be “honest” after conceding that some players scream excessively after tackles in order to try and influence the referee.
Burnley boss Sean Dyche was unhappy with Alexandre Lacazette on Saturday, making reference to what he believed was an excessive response from the Arsenal striker following a challenge with Clarets defender Erik Pieters during their 1-1 draw.
When asked if he thought players in the Sky Bet Championship might seek to gain an unfair advantage by unduly influencing referees, Rooney said: “Possibly. You notice it more with no fans.
“You hear players screaming [after tackles] and maybe trying to influence the referee. It’s frustrating but it’s part of the game.
“It’s whether the referee is strong enough to see when it’s an actual foul.”
As for whether any of his Derby players might adopt such a tactic, Rooney added: “We’d be getting desperate if we ask players to dive and scream.
“It’s something I don’t want from my players. I put a lot of emphasis on the players being honest. We want our players to win games through playing football and working hard, not trying to influence referees.”
Rooney insists modern players are better protected than they were during his playing career, although he felt some still try to influence officials despite the positive changed that have been made in the game.
“The early part of my playing days, there were genuine hard tackles going in and players got up and got on with it, but now it’s changed,” he said.
“Players are protected a lot by the rules of the game. There are a lot of honest and genuine players out there but there is a small minority who try to dictate the referee decisions.”
Rooney was speaking ahead of the Rams’ home game with Championship’s surprise package Barnsley, who narrowly avoided relegation last season but who are currently in the play-off places.
In contrast, Derby go into Wednesday’s match 19th in the table, six points above the relegation zone.