The Premier League champions thought they had snatched a 3-2 victory in injury time at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday but Gabriel Jesus’ strike was disallowed on review for a handball by Aymeric Laporte.
Replays showed the ball had brushed off the top of the City defender’s arm as a cross came in, which under new interpretations has to be penalised – regardless of whether the handball was deliberate or not – because it led to a goal.
The fact this was only spotted by VAR some time after the offence – referee Michael Oliver had missed it – exacerbated the sense of frustration.
De Bruyne does not feel the rule is consistent because, had the ball hit a Tottenham player’s arm in the same manner instead of Laporte’s, play would have been allowed to continue.
“It is what it is,” the Belgian said of VAR. “If they want to make football better they should have it.
“But I think the only thing – the rules should be clear. If the ball had touched somebody of Tottenham’s arm it’s not a penalty, but if it touched our arm it is not allowed.
“It should go both ways in something like that. I don’t understand that as a player. It makes it really confusing.”
The incident meant City had to settle for a 2-2 draw from a game they completely dominated, racking up 30 shots to Spurs’ three.
De Bruyne set up goals for Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero but the visitors responded through Erik Lamela and Lucas Moura.
That ended City’s run of 15 successive Premier League wins but De Bruyne was not too downhearted.
“Obviously we’re disappointed about the result but not about the way we played,” said the 28-year-old.
“We played really well and deserved to win but it happens. We have to look forward. The way we played was really good and to get to this level so early in the season is good.
“We should have scored one more, we had enough opportunities to score.
“That really doesn’t bother me because to create them is even more difficult and I know on another day we can score more goals.”
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Dani Ceballos put in a man of the match performance on his full Arsenal debut as the Gunners beat Burnley and he is keen to use his year in the Premier League to showcase his ability.
Established favourites Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored either side of Ashley Barnes’ equaliser to seal a 2-1 win, but it was summer arrival Ceballos who stole the show.
The Spain international midfielder moved to the Emirates Stadium on a season-long loan deal from Real Madrid having been on the fringes of their first team last year.
He looks set to become an integral part of Unai Emery’s set-up at Arsenal this term and the 23-year-old is eager to make the most of his chance.
“I really want this year to truly demonstrate the football that I have inside,” he told the club’s official website.
“I have a lot of enthusiasm for this season and to be able to give a lot of joy to this club. The confidence they have in me, I want to return it to them with my performances.”
“The most important thing in football is to win,” he said.
“When you have a great game and can help the team to get the victory, you feel satisfaction to know that you’re going home calmly and with the work done.
“The truth is that for me it has been one of the most special days of my life. I think that by starting at home with a win, and with this passion shown at the end of the match, I think it will be hard for me to forget this day.”
🔴⚪️🙌🏻💪 The team worked perfectly in this tough match. I am very proud of my teammates! And most of all, Arsenal fans were spectacular. I have felt their support and love since the first ball contact. 3 more points! Now we have to keep up working! Let's go! 💪@Arsenal #Gunners pic.twitter.com/zLx3K2lORN— Daniel Ceballos (@DaniCeballos46) August 17, 2019
Ceballos could have topped off a fine display with a goal but a curling effort in the second half was well-saved by Nick Pope.
The fit-again Burnley goalkeeper made a number of good stops and he felt the difference between the two sides was minimal.
“It seems to happen here a few times,” he said of another defeat at Arsenal.
“The performance was really encouraging. We put Arsenal under some real pressure by pressing high up the pitch and we got some joy from that.
“When you come to the big grounds and the top six that’s how you want to play and, unfortunately, we just fell a bit short.
“We put them under some real pressure, and we were a bit unfortunate at the end.”
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Gabriel Jesus was denied a last-gasp winner by VAR as Tottenham snatched a remarkable point against the Premier League champions.
The Brazilian looked to have claimed a deserved victory for City right at the death but his late strike was ruled out for a handball by Aymeric Laporte.
City twice led after Kevin De Bruyne created goals for Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero in the first half with pinpoint crosses. However, they were cancelled out by Erik Lamela and, with his first touch as a substitute, Lucas Moura.
“I think the team, or the squad, is still uncertain. I think we need to wait until the transfer window in Europe closes to see which player we are going to have,” said Spurs boss Pochettino after the result.
“And of course, that is not easy, never easy. And we will face today the last Premier League winner. The last two seasons they were winning. They are a very consistent team, improving every season. Signing players that came from different team that were winning like Cancelo from Juventus.
“We are in a different process. That is why we cannot compare both teams. The most important is the fight and the belief that we showed today and the character.”