‘Judge the ac­tion, not the in­jury,’ urges Po­chet­tino

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Total Football - At Good­i­son Park

Tot­ten­ham man­ager Mauri­cio Po­chet­tino hit out at the de­ci­sion to send off Son He­ung-min for the chal­lenge which led to An­dre Gomes’s hor­rific bro­ken an­kle.

Po­chet­tino thanked Ever­ton’s play­ers – led by cap­tain Sea­mus Cole­man – for con­sol­ing Son in the Spurs dress­ing room af­ter the in­ci­dent at Good­i­son Park.

Cole­man, who missed a year’s foot­ball af­ter a sim­i­larly aw­ful in­jury in 2017, spent sev­eral min­utes with the Spurs player to re­as­sure him that he was not to blame.

Son was dis­traught af­ter see­ing the reper­cus­sions of the chal­lenge on Gomes, which was deemed a red fol­low­ing a VAR re­view. Ref­eree Martin Atkin­son booked Son in the im­me­di­ate af­ter­math be­fore the se­ri­ous­ness of the in­jury was ob­vi­ous. The Pre­mier League re­leased a state­ment to ex­plain Son was sent off for “en­dan­ger­ing the safety of a player which hap­pened as a con­se­quence of his ini­tial chal­lenge”. Po­chet­tino was in­censed his player was so se­verely pun­ished.

“He was dev­as­tated,” said Po­chet­tino. “The play­ers from Ever­ton came to con­sole him. I want to thank the cap­tain, Cole­man. He came to speak to Son. In the mo­ment it was a lit­tle bit con­fus­ing – ev­ery­one knows on the pitch what hap­pened – but no one be­lieved it was in­ten­tional.

“When we watched on TV the out­come was very bad and we feel very sorry for An­dre. The ac­tion was very bad luck.

“It was dread­ful for An­dre, but judge the ac­tion, not judge what hap­pened af­ter. We are very dis­ap­pointed with this type of sit­u­a­tion on VAR – it is there to help the ref­eree, not con­fuse the sit­u­a­tion more. The ref­er­ees need help. They need to go and check on the screen.

“In the end the de­ci­sion changed ev­ery­thing. We were in con­trol, then we con­ceded the goal.

“The VAR need to check if it was a bad tackle and not a bad in­jury. It was clear that it was never the in­ten­tion of Son to cre­ate the prob­lem. It was un­be­liev­able he re­ceived the red card. I never com­plain about the VAR, but please – use it in the best way. It is go­ing to change the spirit of foot­ball.” Po­chet­tino said he led the warn­ings about may­hem if VAR was in­tro­duced and poorly ap­plied and thinks English foot­ball is pay­ing a price. “I was the first or only coach in the Pre­mier League that was against the VAR,” he said. “This type of sit­u­a­tion, that you need to help be­cause the de­ci­sion of the ref­eree was yel­low card. It is cre­at­ing a big, big mess. For me, I love that the ref­er­ees are the boss on the pitch.”

Marco Silva spoke of the sad­ness in the dress­ing room af­ter Gomes’s in­jury, but the Ever­ton man­ager also echoed Po­chet­tino’s de­spair with the of­fi­ci­at­ing.

Although they claimed a spir­ited 1-1 draw, Ever­ton were de­nied a penalty af­ter a lengthy re­view of a hand­ball by Dele Alli. The de­lays cre­ated a toxic at­mos­phere in the sta­dium, all sides of the sta­dium protest­ing against the use of tech­nol­ogy. “The penalty took three min­utes to de­cide,” said Silva. “All of us love foot­ball and we play for the foot­ball fans. I am sure they did not like what they saw, so many mo­ments to stop the game.

“Last week we lost a game with a penalty com­ing from nowhere and to­day com­pletely the op­po­site.

“When you see a sec­ond half like to­day it is dif­fi­cult to un­der­stand.

“For­get­ting the game, it was tough for our play­ers. All the play­ers are sad. An­dre will have all the sup­port he needs. He will be­come stronger as a foot­baller and a lad.”

Ever­ton, mean­while, said last night that they were in­ves­ti­gat­ing al­le­ga­tions of racial abuse by a sup­porter dur­ing the match.

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