‘I’m very worried’ – Pochettino opens up on major fear for next season

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Dom Le Roy

Tottenham Hotspur beat Manchester City by one goal to nil last night at the new Spurs Stadium, and will now take a lead into the away leg at the Etihad in two weeks.

However, in a game with a late goal and a potential season-ending Harry Kane injury, there was one other major talking point that may eclipse everything else.

In the first half, Raheem Sterling went on a trademark jinking run and let fire from just outside the box.

Danny Rose and Toby Alderweireld both came flying in to block the shot, with the former sliding along the deck.

However, the ball caught Rose on the arm on the way through, despite the fact that he wasn’t directly looking at the ball and was prone by this point.

Man City proceeded to quickly run over to take the resulting corner, without appealing for a penalty, but VAR stepped in to save the day for the Premier League title holders.

A pen was awarded by the ref after reviewing the decision, which was then saved by Hugo Lloris.

It is fair to say that Pochettino is not impressed with the new tech (Football London): “I didn’t want to see it now. There’s a lot of work to do with VAR. I’m going to try to help with VAR and the system to settle the protocol that can help the referee, but today I think it showed that there is still a lot of work to do on the system. We know there are many decision that no one knows if VAR is going to be used or not, to check or not. Maybe technically it’s a penalty because it was handball, but we do not know the protocol. I know next season a touch intentional or no intention it’s going to be a penalty, but today no. There are a lot of question marks and a lot of work to do. Coaching staff, players and the referee have work to do to translate to you and the fans. I think it’s going to change the spirit of the game and I’m very worried about how it’s going to work next season.”

On the fact that the handball law may be different in each competition, Poch said: “That is the issue. We were talking in the training ground they were using VAR to try to practice, but there’s still a lot of work to do. It’s going to be a tough summer to try to find the best way to work. Is it going to check everything? Is it going to check handball, is this aggression, I don’t know because today there were a lot of actions you could check. Next season, how is it going to work? Many things we need to try to make clear. The spirit and the direction of football is going to change. We are going to see a different sport, not the football we grew up watching, that’s for sure.”

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  1. In some ways VAR is absolutely necessary. The worry is that after viewing VAR, we still come to the wrong decision. All debate and unpredictability is taken out of football. UEFA had said about handballs being penalties, but Danny Rose has to have his hands out slightly for balance. It was very harsh, as it was to PSG, when players are not even looking that way. It could have completely ruined the tie, but Lloris stepped in. It was also unfair on Rose to get a yellow card. That could have ended up leading to him getting sent off. We never seem to get the rub of the green, Kane going off injured too.


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