Mauricio Pochettino defends Tottenham team following win over Leicester

Press Association Sport 00:20 11/02/2019
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Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino was left perplexed by Michael Oliver’s decision to book Son Heung-min for diving in his side’s 3-1 win over Leicester.

Son was booked in the first half after going down in the area under a challenge from Harry Maguire, becoming the fourth Spurs player to be yellow-carded for simulation this season.

The South Korean went on to get on the scoresheet at Wembley, putting the finishing touches on a win that had been set up by Davinson Sanchez and Christian Eriksen goals.

Oliver did point to the spot when he awarded Leicester a penalty, which Jamie Vardy missed with his first kick after coming on as a substitute immediately before, though the striker did get on the scoresheet later on.

It was the second time Oliver has denied Son a penalty at Wembley this season after he chose not to award a spot-kick in the final moments of Liverpool’s 2-1 win in September.

Pochettino has not forgotten that incident and was incredulous in his response to Sunday’s re-run.

“Today do you think that Sonny deserved to be booked? Unbelievable, unbelievable, unbelievable.

“When you compare the situation with the penalty against us, unbelievable. The problem is, I told Michael Oliver, the situation of Liverpool in the last minute that should be a penalty, but it was a clear penalty.

“It was the same referee but now I don’t know how he has measured the situation. It is so difficult.

“I am a person that always accepts the mistake but I think it was so strange the situation today.

“I am more relaxed now because we won the game, three important points we got, but so disappointed with the situation because everyone wants to talk about different clubs or players, but do you think we are a team that is trying to cheat the referee? Come on, we are the most innocent people on the pitch.”

The win keeps Tottenham in the Premier League title race, five points off the top, after their 20th win of the season.

Their attention now turns to the Champions League, where they host Borussia Dortmund in the last 16, though Pochettino is unhappy with the scheduling of this game against the Foxes.

Dortmund played on Saturday and the Argentinian believes his side are now at a massive disadvantage by having 24 hours less to recover.

He said: “I feel so embarrassed because I can accept to play today if Dortmund play today and then we play Wednesday, but I cannot understand why we’re playing with a massive disadvantage.

“Twenty-four hours in this type of competition, the last 16, is a massive disadvantage.

“It doesn’t mean that we’re not going to compete. For me, I’m going to stop describing the real situation, but I think there is no sense.

“It is so difficult to understand why, when we had one week clear to play this game and to schedule it on a different day, and only I am explaining my feelings and how difficult it is to prepare a game when you only have today and then you’re going to need to play.”

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