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Referees are now in the office, not pitch says Mourinho

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Tottenham Hotspur’s Portuguese head coach Jose Mourinho reacts after seeing a goal from Tottenham Hotspur’s English striker Harry Kane disallowed during the English Premier League football match between Sheffield United and Tottenham Hotspur at Bramall Lane in Sheffield, northern England on July 2, 2020. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / POOL / AFP) / 

Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho questioned the point of having referees on the pitch and said VAR was bad for the game after his side were victims of a controversially disallowed equaliser in a 3-1 defeat at Sheffield United on Thursday.

Harry Kane thought he had levelled for Spurs almost immediately after Sander Berge had given the hosts the lead in their Premier League clash at Bramall Lane.

But VAR officials at their bunker in Stockley Park ruled that Lucas Moura had used his arm in the build-up despite the Brazilian being shoved over and then having the ball booted against him while sliding headlong on the turf.

Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp described the decision as one of the worst he had seen and called for common sense.

Mourinho looked furious at the time but the Portuguese coach refused to turn his ire on referee Chris Kavanagh.

“I think the referee should always be the man on the pitch and the man in the office should support and assist,” Mourinho said of the incident. “But that’s not the way that it is.

“Especially a referee who’s not very good on the pitch, we can’t expect him to be very good in the office. We’re going into a direction that is very bad for a game which was the game that everyone fell in love with.

“Normally I am an emotional guy on the bench but, in this moment, I never complain with the man with the whistle because he’s not the referee anymore.

“I used to go to the fourth (official) but the man on the pitch is the assistant referee and today the man and the lady with the flag, (who) used to be the assistant referees, are now assistant’s assistant. The ref is in the office.”

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder has been a critic of VAR and felt wronged when his side had a goal ruled out in their 1-1 draw at Tottenham in November. He felt Mourinho’s angst.

“I’ve got a back catalogue of decisions that have gone against us, we’re the unofficial champs of Europe with decisions against us,” he said. “I think it’s a nonsense rule.

“I totally understand the frustration of their (Tottenham’s) manager and players. We’ve had the rub of the green tonight on that one, well overdue but we’ll take it.”

Mourinho, whose side slipped to ninth, nine points adrift of the top four, questioned his side’s reaction to the decision to chalk off Kane’s goal.

“We have to do better, we have to be mentally stronger to cope with what happened during the game,” he said. “It was a kick in the teeth but with 50 minutes to go, we have to be stronger. I don’t think we were strong enough mentally.”


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