Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino was surprised and frustrated as his team were denied what he thought was a penalty as they went down to a 1-0 defeat against Manchester City in the Premier League on Saturday.
City right-back Kyle Walker appeared to handle the ball in the box in a tussle with Dele Alli in the second half of the game, with Spurs behind to Phil Foden’s first-half goal, his first in the Premier League.
Immediately after the game Pochettino reacted harshly to referee Michael Oliver’s decision not to award the spot kick.
“I thought it was a penalty but we didn’t get it. In that action it is not that confusing. Michael Oliver was standing behind watching,” Pochettino told beIN SPORTS.
“When it is not clear, it is not clear, but this action is more than clear. Both players fighting for the ball inside the box and Michael Oliver was in a fantastic position to see what was going on there.
“For me and maybe not for Manchester City but for me and for the rest of humanity, I think it was a penalty.”
In his press conference a little later, Pochettino, who has already received a two-game touchline ban for confronting a referee this season, was more circumspect.
“I’ve nothing to say [about the decision]. It’s always about the interpretation of the referee. For sure if I watched the match from the referee’s viewpoint I could have a better idea of what happened.
“Nothing to say and nothing to complain. That’s football. Sometimes it’s for you and sometimes it’s against you.
“We trust in the referees and their decisions much better than any system.
“Always I’m going to defend and back the decision of the referee.”
The three matches the two clubs have played in the Champions League quarter-final and now Premier League in recent weeks have each seen their share of controversial decisions.
Both legs of the quarter-final tie between the clubs included VAR decisions, with Tottenham conceding a penalty in the first leg, missed by Sergio Aguero.
Fernando Llorente’s goal in the second leg, which ultimately won the tie for Spurs, was awarded after a lengthy delay, while Raheem Sterling’s stoppage-time score that would seen City advance was ruled out by the video assistant for an offside by Aguero in the build-up.
The Premier League currently does not have VAR, though it will be implemented next season.