Tottenham have come under a lot of criticism for their defeat at home to Newcastle United on Sunday and most of the criticism is warranted as the team were unable to fashion too many clear cut chances despite enjoying territorial dominance.
While Pochettino has admitted after the game that the performance was well below par (Sky Sports), it could all have been so different had one important moment in the game turned out a different way.
Substitute Giovani Lo Celso, who was making his home debut, put Harry Kane through on goal only for Magpies defender Jamaal Lascelles to hurl himself at the striker and bring him down in the box.
Referee Mike Dean, however, waved away protests and VAR ruled that it wasn’t an obvious enough decision to be overturned.
Had a penalty been given and the game been leveled, there was more than enough time for the home side to find a winner as they did against Villa.
However, it wasn’t to be and Kane has admitted that he is still confused about the decision not to award a penalty.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, the England captain said, “It is hard to understand how it hasn’t been given. Just like when a keeper comes out, uses his arms and trips you up – it’s a penalty.
“I kind of tripped over his (Lascelles) arm and then his body. Whether it was deliberate or not, from my point of view it is hard to take.
“It is there to help the referee on the pitch. That being said he didn’t know, he couldn’t see.
“That’s where VAR is there to help him out. If he had said ‘no penalty’ and the VAR said it was a 50-50, you can agree.
“I don’t know what the conversation was – whether he said he didn’t see it or not, but from my point of view, it’s hard to understand. That’s the way football goes sometimes.
“Sometimes you are going to get the rub of the green with VAR, sometimes not. I felt it didn’t go our way against Newcastle.”
However, the 26-year-old clarified that he is in favour of using the system and that he expects players to get accustomed to it over time.
He added, “I’ve always said offsides are definite because there is a kind of guarantee.
“It is the 50-50 ones that are always going to be hard. They are never going to take away that speculation because like against Newcastle, it is always a matter of opinion.
“It’s there to help the referees, so we have to adapt to it. This is the first season of it in the Premier League.
“There are things that they will maybe get right and wrong. We just have to accept it and get on with it.”
Spurs Web Opinion
The problem with the use of VAR at the moment is that it is not clear where the bar for clear and obvious is. As soon as VAR overturns a decision and awards a team a penalty, there are going be comparisons made with this Kane incident and other similar incidents. As the Tottenham striker seems to point out, a penalty call is often subjective and there is just no way around that.
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