A controversial VAR decision has proven costly for Tottenham against Sheffield United in the Premier League, with Spurs manager Jose Mourinho joining viewers in condemning the call.
Mourinho said VAR is bad for the "beautiful game" after watching his Spurs lose at Sheffield United, insisting that "the referee should be the man on the pitch".
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Spurs suffered their 11th defeat of the season at Bramall Lane, as the Blades ran out deserved 3-1 winners thanks to goals from Sander Berge, Lys Mousset and Oli McBurnie.
Berge opened the scoring on the half-hour mark, but Harry Kane appeared to hit an equaliser two minutes later after a dizzying run from Lucas Moura.
Tottenham's joy was short-lived, however, as a VAR review ruled that Moura handled the ball as he went down under a challenge just outside the box.
"It is an absolutely ludicrous decision, but by the letter of the law it is the correct decision."
An incredible first-half decision denied Spurs an equaliser in a moment that sparked outrage: not just from Jose Mourinho.
— Optus Sport (@OptusSport) July 2, 2020
Kane's goal - had it not have been disallowed - may very well have changed the entire context of the match.
The call, while technically correct by the letter of the law because it involved the ball hitting an arm in the lead-up to a goal, was incredibly harsh considering Moura was fouled and had no idea where the ball was when it was blasted into him from point-blank range.
While Kane did find the net again for a goal that actually did stand late on, it was the Blades who earned all three points after an impressive second-half performance.
Kane's disallowed goal proved a massive talking point after the match though, with Mourinho sharing the frustrations of many viewers over VAR.
Mourinho questioned the way video technology is used, insisting the removal of human error is having a detrimental effect on the game.
"I think I cannot say what I feel. It's not the referee anymore. The man on the pitch is the assistant referee, The man and lady with the flags are now the assistants of the assistant referees," Mourinho told reporters.
"The referee should be the man on the pitch. We are going into a direction which is really bad for a game that is a beautiful game."
#thfc The VAR has ruled it out after the ball appearing to touch Moura's arm as he was falling. Looks incredibly harsh to me. Incident shown on the big screen and the Spurs players are livid.
— Dan Kilpatrick (@Dan_KP) July 2, 2020
Where exactly is Lucas Moura supposed to put his hands there?! He’s heading for the turf head first
— Molly Hudson (@M0lly_Writes) July 2, 2020
this will be the most ridiculous handball so far... stunning stuff
— Max Rushden (@maxrushden) July 2, 2020
Its pathetic, what is he supposed to do when he is fouled.
— Marc Deadman (@Deadly1976) July 2, 2020
Its the worst decision ever but this has made me laugh to be fair 🤣
— Watson (@watson_THFC) July 2, 2020
Surely it can’t be handball if he’s falling onto the ball because he has been fouled? This has got to be in the laws of the game already. Bullshit decision
— Mister Pie (@misterpie) July 2, 2020
Hes fouled.. and then and the ball booted at him. That’s probably the worst one of the lot, I agree.
— Kai (@TheKopSings) July 2, 2020
Forget it! Football has gone.
— Chris Winter (@winterchris2010) July 2, 2020
VAR in the prem is a joke
— Cantoro 🇸🇪🇮🇹 (@Cantoro9) July 2, 2020
Horrible Decision 🤮🤮
— Marc_Hyela (@marcushyelamada) July 2, 2020
Manager admits Spurs need to be better
Mourinho conceded that while the first half decision was a tough pill to swallow, his side needed to respond better to the adversity.
"We have to do better. We have to be mentally stronger to cope with what happened in the game. We cannot mentally die after (referee) Michael Oliver's decision.
"I think the team was playing well in the first half. We scored and then the team felt too much. I think now I know more the profile of my players.
"I know it's difficult to take, in the second half we had the ball but we didn't have chances to change the game.
"We played with a very offensive team plus Gio [Lo Celso] and Moussa [Sissoko] as midfield players. We have to create more chances then we did. I have to admit I am disappointed."
Tottenham are now nine points behind Chelsea in the race for a top-four finish, with a tough fixture against an in-form Everton side up next on Monday.
Pressed on how he will motivate his squad for their remaining six fixtures after such a damaging setback, Mourinho responded: "It's very easy to motivate myself because it's my nature. I think the motivation should be self-motivation that is directly related to professionalism.
"If these boys don't care about results and the position we finish in at the end of the season then we will be in big trouble in the future."