Spurs boss Ange Postecoglou has defended under-fire Premier League officials and warned fans that VAR is “never” going to be perfect after his side’s unforgettable 2-1 win over Liverpool in North London.
The Lilywhites maintained their unbeaten run to the season under controversial circumstances on Saturday evening, where Liverpool midfielder Curtis Jones received a straight red in the 26th minute for a crunching tackle on Yves Bissouma.
Despite going down to 10 men, Jurgen Klopp’s side put the ball in the back of the net through Luis Diaz, but the Colombian’s goal was disallowed for offside – a decision which the PGMOL have since admitted was incorrect.
After VAR failed to intervene to award Diaz’s goal, Son Heung-min tapped home from Richarlison’s cutback, but Cody Gakpo’s smart turn and finish drew the visitors level on the stroke of the break.
However, referee Simon Hooper was the victim of Liverpool fan fury early in the second half, banishing Diogo Jota from the field for two yellow-card tackles on Destiny Udogie, who appeared to trip himself up on the Portuguese’s first offence.
Nevertheless, the nine men of Liverpool held out extremely well, but with the final attack of the game, Joel Matip turned Pedro Porro’s cross into his own net to gift Tottenham all three points and send the disconsolate Reds home empty-handed.
Following the PGMOL’s admission of a ‘significant human error’ over Diaz’s disallowed goal, Klopp insisted that the statement was worthless, as his side still left the capital with zero points to their name.
In his post-match press conference, Postecoglou did not comment on the individual cases from Saturday’s game, but he affirmed that officials will make errors in the same way that players and managers will mess up, no matter whether they have access to technology or not.
“We have to deal with it. The biggest problem I think that we have is that we seem to fail to grasp is that no form of technology is going to make the game errorless. We used to understand that errors were part of the game, including officiating errors,” the Australian said.
“You’d have to cop it and some people would cop it better than others but that was part of the game. The game is littered with historical refereeing decisions that weren’t right but we all accepted it that it was part of the game because we’re dealing with human beings.
“I think that people are under the misconception that VAR is going to be errorless. I don’t think there’s any technology, because so much of our game isn’t factual.
“It’s down to interpretation and they’re still human beings. They’re going to make mistakes the same way managers make mistakes, the same way players make mistakes.
“When you put such a high bar on something it invariably is going to fail, so if people are thinking that VAR is going to be something that at some point that is perfect, that’s never going to happen.
“We obviously had the man extra and there were a fair few fouls so I think it was an accumulation of things, but they are decisions against another team.
“I haven’t commented on decisions against our team this year and there were a couple of times I felt it could have gone either way so I’ll leave it for others to decide if right or wrong.”
Postecoglou also allayed fears of a fresh issue to captain Son, who was an injury doubt before the game and was ostensibly struggling as he made his way off the pitch, claiming that the South Korean’s withdrawal was pre-planned.
“Look, he wasn’t 100% but I had a chat with him yesterday and he was desperate to play. He was going to give what he could and he did. He was never going to play the whole 90, we were always going to give him an hour or so but he led from the front again and he was the one doing the pressing. He got his goal as well so great captain’s effort,” Postecoglou added.
Spurs – who remain unbeaten in the Premier League this season – occupy second place in the rankings ahead of a trip to newly-promoted Luton Town in seven days’ time.
Gary Neville gives Curtis Jones red card verdict after shock Tottenham vs Liverpool VAR decision
Curtis Jones was sent off in controversial fashion against Spurs in the first half to leave Liverpool down to 10 men after referee Simon Hooper upgraded a yellow card to red.
Gary Neville has strongly disagreed with the red card given to Liverpool midfielder Curtis Jones just 25 minutes into the eagerly anticipated top of the table clash with Tottenham.
Jones, who had initially been given a yellow card by referee Simon Hooper, was sent off moments later after a VAR intervention on his tackle involving Yves Bissouma.
With the score at 0-0 at the time, Neville claimed that it would ‘ruin the game’ and expressed his uncertainty over what constitutes a red card now.
“No, I know when you’re doing someone on purpose, I’ve done myself in the past, and he’s not doing that,” the former Manchester United defender said on Sky Sports commentary of the match.
“He’s [the VAR] showing him [the referee] the end motion and that’s not how it actually is – his foot slips over the top of the ball. It’s never a red card and he’s going to get one if it’ll ruin the game.
“I think generally, he’s gone in genuinely but his foot slips on top of the ball. I’m not sure, I never am nowadays, I’m less sure about football than I ever have been but I don’t think he’s gone in with any malice.
“If you see the end part of it in slow motion, you’ll come to the conclusion that it’s a red card. You have to look at the full motion at full speed, the speed of these players going into the tackles, Bissouma is flying in and so is Curtis Jones. But look, I felt a yellow would’ve been fine with the ambiguity that exists on something like that.”
It’s already the third time that Liverpool have had a man sent off this season and they went on to win the previous two, including a comeback victory away at Newcastle. This one came after a lively start to the game between two of the three remaining unbeaten sides in the league.
It happened on the left side of the pitch midway into Tottenham’s defensive half when Jones sprinted in to nudge the ball away from Bissouma in what looked like a 50-50.
Bissouma beat his opposition number to the ball and Jones then continued on, grazing the top of the ball before his follow through took him into Bissouma’s ankle.