David Moyes will make a renewed attempt to eradicate diving from Ashley Young's game after the latest controversy involving the Manchester United winger.
Young's reputation suffered another blow against Real Sociedad on Tuesday when he won a penalty with a theatrical tumble to a slight pull from the home midfielder Markel Bergara. Robin van Persie missed the spot-kick as United were held to a goalless draw in the Basque country but maintained their place at the top of Group A.
The 28-year-old was widely condemned for his actions in San Sebastián and the former United players Roy Keane and Ray Wilkins accused the England international of conning the referee, Nicola Rizzoli. Wilkins branded the dive "pathetic".
Moyes refused to condemn Young in public after the game, instead focusing on the referee's performance on a night when Marouane Fellaini was dismissed for two bookable offences. Privately, however, the United manager is expected again to warn Young about going to ground too easily and reiterate his opposition to diving among his players.
The former Aston Villa winger has been unwilling or unable to heed previous warnings about his conduct from United managers. Sir Alex Ferguson cautioned Young after diving controversies against Villa and Queens Park Rangers, and the former United manager claimed in his latest autobiography that the player had matured in that regard.
But Moyes was compelled to speak to Young after he dived against Crystal Palace earlier this season and has started him in only two matches since that game. The winger's international prospects have also suffered over the past year as he struggles to fulfil the initial promise of an £18m move to Old Trafford in 2011.
Moyes is unlikely to tolerate further breaches of his disciplinary code as he imposes himself at Old Trafford. The Scot has been a leading advocate of retrospective punishment for diving for a number of years and, while Everton manager last season, fined his captain, Phil Neville, a week's wages for feigning a foul during a Merseyside derby. Neville's dive was all the more embarrassing for Moyes as he had criticised Luis Suárez's theatrics on the eve of the derby and claimed players who "con their way to results" would drive supporters away from the game.
Speaking last October, prior to the introduction of goalline technology and a three-man panel to review incidents missed by match officials, Moyes said: "I'm of the view that retrospective viewing of diving should be more important than some of the technology they are talking about bringing in. I think it would make the referee's job an awful lot easier if that was there. If you do it and you get banned for it, it wouldn't take long before you cut it out. It wouldn't take much – four or five people on a panel, referees, players and managers. I think it could be easily done."
The United manager, meanwhile, is likely to have Michael Carrick, Jonny Evans and Rafael da Silva back from injury for Sunday's Premier League meeting with Arsenal. All three missed the Real Sociedad game but are in contention to return against the league leaders, when Rio Ferdinand admits United must show the consistency required to maintain hope of retaining the title. Moyes's side are unbeaten in eight matches in all competitions and host Arsenal having won successive league games for the first time under their new manager.
Ferdinand said: "We have had a few bad results at Old Trafford this season already and we can't continue like that. We have put together a decent run of games. People say we have to win this weekend against Arsenal but it doesn't matter whether it is Cardiff or Swansea or whoever – we have to win.
"People will be thinking we could be 11 points behind or five points behind Arsenal but it doesn't matter to us. If we were 10 points clear we'd want to win this game at home. That is not going to change. I don't think we have shown ourselves this season on a consistent basis, not just in the big games. It is time to start putting our foot on the pedal now and motor on. We have to do that if we want to remain in contention to win the league."