Tottenham Hotspur manager, Mauricio Pochettino, could be seen deep in discussion with Pep Guardiola, his Man City equivalent, at the end of the match last night.
However, it was not a talk of congratulations, or even an argument, the two former La Liga managers had their arms around each other, discussing a new and controversial rule.
Not only has the Premier League introduced VAR for the new season, but they also have a new handball rule when it comes to the attacking team.
If the ball hits at attacking player’s arm and it leads to possession or a goal, it will be pulled back for a free-kick to the defending team.
This may seem like an unlikely event, but Man City saw an injury-time winner chalked off at the Etihad thanks to the new rules last night, as the match ended 2-2.
Pochettino has been outspoken about VAR in particular over the last season or so, and yesterday’s post-match press conference was no different.
He said (Football London): “I accept now that the VAR is in football. I was a little bit critical in the past. That wasn’t nice for the people to hear from me. I love football that was 30 years ago or more. Still I am watching football from the past. I love it and the way the referee was the boss. It’s not another person who can make a decision. It’s up to him if he sees it or not, not whether it was wrong or right.
“Now we give it to technology and the new era in football. We’re going to accept the rules. I will accept in the future because for sure in the future some decisions will be against us. I’m going to accept it in the same way with the same face. The rules are the rules and the VAR is here.”
On when he knew the goal had been chalked off: “Yes, Jesus told me and we were watching the situation because to concede in the last minute from a corner we were a little bit upset. In that moment the VAR was checking and Jesus said it was handball. It was the same emotion like a few months like happened in the Champions League, you are out and then you’re in. There were still a few more minutes to play. It’s unbelievable this stadium with the VAR and Tottenham. It doesn’t happen with other teams.”
And finally, Poch revealed what he and Pep spoke about: “We were talking about the VAR first. Of course, it was a conversation. When we were in Barcelona, him at Barcelona and me at Espanyol, always we, every six months, we met and talked. That is the habit, to make that picture between the two managers but here it’s not like that and it’s difficult to meet sometimes and talk.
“It’s true that we saw each other in the Premier League meetings a few weeks ago. In that moment we kept going in a different way, talking in conversation. Some things we agree, some things we disagree. Then we spent two minutes and it was good because we were not focused on the game, only on our conversation. Everything was okay.”
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