Chris Wilder, the Sheffield United manager, has insisted he will never instruct his players to feign injury in order to try and gain an unfair advantage.
United enter the international break ninth in the table - two points behind sixth-placed Middlesbrough with eight matches remaining - following last weekend’s draw with Nottingham Forest.
Although the race for promotion from the Championship is delicately poised, Wilder wants his team to try and reach the Premier League by fair means rather than foul.
“We don’t tell people to roll about here,” he said. “We don’t tell people to stay down and pretend they are hurt if they’re not because, pure and simple, we don’t believe that’s what football is all about.
“Some people might think otherwise, some people might think it’s clever or all part of the game now. But, personally speaking, I’d rather we achieved something through hard work and playing well than stuff like that.”
Wilder’s comments will reignite the debate about whether ‘winning’ a foul constitutes acceptable behaviour or cheating.
“We try and play well here but also play hard,” he added. “You can do both. It’s not either or, one thing or the other despite what some people might try and have you believe.
“Basically, we want to achieve on our own merits, through playing well.”
Meanwhile, United under-23’s were beaten 2-1 by Queens Park Rangers earlier this afternoon. Captain Regan Slater drew Travis Binnion’s side level after Bright Osayi-Samuel had put the hosts in front before Aramide Oteh pounced during the second-half at Loftus Road.