‘I don’t understand’ – Pep Guardiola makes Spurs claim while criticising VAR

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Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Dom Le Roy

Pep Guardiola has admitted that he did not understand why Fulham’s second-half goal against Tottenham was disallowed last week for handball during the North Londoners’ 1-0 win at Craven Cottage.

Tottenham took the lead early in the encounter but the home side appeared to have equalised in the second half through Josh Maja.

However, replays showed that the ball hit the hand of team-mate Mario Lemina from a Davinson Sanchez’s clearance.

Controversially, VAR ruled the goal out for handball and Spurs were able to walk away with all three points from the match.

The International Football Association Board (IFAB) has since announced changes to the handball law that will take effect from next season.

City were also on the receiving end of a controversial call during their 5-2 win against Southampton on Wednesday night, with the league leaders not being handed a penalty despite Phil Foden clearly being brought down by Saints keeper Alex McCarthy.

When talking about the decision that went against his side, Guardiola also referenced Fulham’s disallowed goal as well as the decision not to hand Arsenal a penalty when the ball struck Phil Bardsley’s hand during the Gunners 1-1 draw at Turf Moor.

The City boss told Sky Sports about the Foden incident: “I don’t understand how Fulham disallowed goal against Tottenham.

“I don’t understand the hands from Arsenal against Burnley. And another example is the penalty today.

“Like we won, it’s incredible and happy and everything. But Jon (Moss) cannot see it. But the VAR is there.

“Don’t listen the penalty is incredible. You know that for a long time, for about four or five years, I never complain about the referees. But this action is really incredible, incredible.

“The same with Fulham and Arsenal, with the hands. Maybe, one day, they will explain to us really the rule for all the managers and the players.”

Spurs Web Opinion

I think people who work in football, especially managers, have a responsibility to understand the rules before criticising referees or VAR. While the Foden non-penalty and the failure to penalise Bardsley for handball were certainly controversial, the reality is that the referee and the VAR had little choice but to chop off Josh Maja’s equaliser.

The rules clearly state that any handball from an attacking player that directly leaders to a goal (whether or not intentional) would be deemed as an offence. The rules are different when it is the defending team who have handled the ball as things like intention and body shape then come into the discussion. I do not agree with the rule and I believe it is a good thing that it is being changed but it is unfair to criticise the referee or VAR for implementing the laws of the game.

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