Pochettino slams ref over ‘dive’ as Spurs beat Leicester
Boss's fury over decision to give Son Heung-min a yellow card in 3-1 victory at Wembley that just about keeps his team in the title race
10 February, 2019 — By Dan Carrier at Wembley
Mauricio Pochettino: ‘I am relaxed because we won the game, but so disappointed’
SPURS 3 (Sanchez 33, Eriksen 63, Son 90)
LEICESTER CITY 1 (Vardy 75)
MAURICIO Pochettino did not hold back in his stinging post-match assessment of the refereeing of his side’s 3-1 defeat of Leicester City today, saying that the decision to book the influential Son Heung-min for diving was “unbelievable unbelievable, unbelievable”.
Strikes from Davinson Sanchez, Christian Eriksen and Son sealed three hard-won points against a solid Leicester side. It keeps Spurs just about in the title race, five points off leaders Liverpool as the home straight beckons.
Skipper Hugo Lloris had to be at his best to keep Leicester out – he saved a Jamie Vardy penalty with the score at 1-0 – but ultimately Tottenham deserved to record their fourth consecutive league victory.
Pochettino expressed concern over Son receiving a first-half yellow card. He tumbled in the box after he was tripped by Foxes centre-back Harry Maguire.
“Do you think that Sonny deserved to be booked?,” he asked.
“Unbelievable, unbelievable, unbelievable. When you compare the situation with the penalty against us, unbelievable.”
And he also referred to the same referee’s decision in a match against Liverpool earlier this season when Son felt he deserved a penalty – just for Michael Oliver to wave him away.
Pochettino added: “The situation of Liverpool in the last minute was it should be a penalty. It was the same referee but now I don’t know how he has measured the situation. I always accept the mistake but I think it was so strange, the situation today. I am relaxed because we won the game, but so disappointed.
“Do you think we are a team that is trying to cheat the referee? Come on, we are the most innocent people.”
Luckily for Spurs, the penalty meant nothing in the end. The niggly match had seen Leicester create decent chances from the off, with Maguire seeing a free header tipped over by Lloris, and then Harvey Barnes firing wide.
For Spurs, a sense of injustice was fostered when Danny Rose, Son and Jan Vertonghen were booked in the first 28 minutes and some frankly odd refereeing decisions went against the home side.
With Leicester looking solid, it was going to take something special to open things up and the magic came from a combination of Eriksen’s right boot and the bravery of Sanchez. Eriksen swung a cross into the six-yard box with curve and whip, and Sanchez launched himself like a torpedo and banged the ball home with his forehead.
Lloris’s handling and some solid work by the Spurs centre-backs protected the lead, and looked likely to continue until the whistle happy referee intervened.
On 60, James Maddison was judged to have been fouled in the box by Vertonghen, prompting an incredulous look from the Belgian defender. Substitute Jamie Vardy was introduced as the ball was placed on the spot and his first touch was to strike a shot towards the bottom-left-hand corner. Lloris got down well to pull off an immense save and change the complexion of the game.
Spurs fans found their voices and the players that extra yard. The determination of young Oliver Skipp helped create a cushion on 63. He charged down a clearance and the loose ball was helped into the path of Eriksen by Fernando Llorente. The Dane picked his spot and finished with power.
Vardy got a goal back on 75 when he tucked home a cross from close range. It led to a brief spell where the Foxes pushed for a point – but then up popped Son at the death to sprint 50 yards and smash home a third as the game headed to its conclusion.
Spurs: Lloris, Trippier, Rose (Walker Peters, 87), Vertonghen, Sanchez, Son, Winks, Sissoko, Llorente (Wanyama, 78) Eriksen, Skipp (Alderweireld, 69).
Subs: Gazzaniga, Walker-Peters, Foyth, Aurier, Moura.
Leicester City: Schmeichel, Chilwell, Evans, Gray (Vardy, 58) Maddison, Pereira, Maguire, Barnes (Okazaki, 88) Tielemans, Mendy, Ghezzal.
Subs: Ward, Simpson, Morgan, Ndidi, Choudhary.