(Reuters) - Stoke City forward Peter Crouch said Premier League players would need to adapt to a clampdown by referees on pushing and holding in the penalty area, expressing concern that the new guidelines might lead to a farcical number of penalty awards.
Referee Mike Dean awarded two penalties during Stoke City’s 4-1 defeat against Manchester City - one against Stoke’s Ryan Shawcross for impeding Nicolas Otamendi, while City’s Raheem Sterling was deemed to have unfairly blocked Shawcross for the other.
After just two match days, Premier League referees have awarded seven penalties this campaign, while at the same stage last season, only three were penalties were given.
“If you’re going to give penalties away like that there are going to be a lot of penalties and people will be asking for consistency,” Crouch told British media.
“I haven’t seen (replays of the incidents) ... but if they’re penalties then you’re going to be giving two or three a game and it’s going to be a farce.”
The 35-year-old, an unused substitute in Saturday’s match, said he viewed holding as an integral part of the game and forecast “a long season for defenders”.
“(But) it’s just something we’re going to have to learn to adapt to,” he added.
Stoke City next face Stevenage in the League Cup on Tuesday, before a trip to Goodison Park to play Everton in the league on Saturday.
Reporting by Nivedita Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Alison Williams