Ange Postecoglou has revealed Tottenham have sought clarification from the PGMOL over what constitutes a foul on a goalkeeper and says it is "bizarre" that obstruction of keepers now appears to go unpunished.
Spurs keeper Guglielmo Vicario believed he was impeded at corners for Manchester City's winner in the FA Cup on January 26 and Everton's first equaliser in the 2-2 draw at Goodison Park last weekend - but both goals were awarded after a VAR check.
Postecoglou revealed Spurs have asked referees' body, the PGMOL, for guidance and says there has been an concerning shift in the treatment of goalkeepers, who are no longer "a protected species".
The Spurs head coach said: "I’ve kind of always been the one who says you’ve got to respect the referee’s decision.
“But we have sent some stuff [to the PGMOL] to get some clarification.
A huge goal for Dominic Calvert-Lewin! 🤩
That could be the scoring boost that he needed! 🔥 pic.twitter.com/eW21wFrFJY
— Football on TNT Sports (@footballontnt) February 3, 2024
“I’m going to get called out for this, but there was a thing that was quite evident in the game: that the goalkeeper was a protected species.
“I don’t think that’s just me making that up. If you really impeded a goalkeeper in any way in the six-yard box, you are going to get a foul. I knew that as a player, I knew that as a manager.
“There seems to be a shift there. Somebody will say to me that the rules haven’t changed but I think there’s been a shift there where now… to me, it’s obstruction.
“If you’re standing in front of a goalkeeper stopping him before a ball has even arrived, in layman’s terms that’s obstruction.
“Now someone is going to tell me that that’s not a law either, it wouldn’t surprise me. But it was something that I kind of thought was part of the game.
“I’ve seen it in general play, I’ve seen our guys get blocked trying close people down by other people and I’m finding it bizarre that it’s not being pulled up anymore.
“With the goalkeepers, what’s that going to do now? Well, it’s pretty much opened it up that you can surround the goalkeeper and crowd him and put balls on top of him and just wait for the scramble to finish and see what happens."
Everton had nine corners against Spurs at Goodison Park, with Sean Dyche's side typically putting a man on Vicario and targeting the keeper.
Postecoglou insisted he was "proud" of the way the Italian handled Everton's approach, dismissing the suggestions that he should have been stronger.
“I was really proud of Vic the other day," he continued. "They had nine corners and I think he dealt with just about every other one by coming out and actually having a crack at it rather than just standing on his line and saying, ‘No, I don’t want to get exposed’.
“I can’t praise him highly enough over the way he handled it. And the whole thing where people say, ‘You’ve got to be stronger’, well, what does that mean?
“If he pushes or does anything to a player, with VAR, you’ve got no chance. You’re going to get a penalty against you.
“We’re telling our players now, ‘Just be careful in the box, they’re looking for everything with VAR, you’re not going to get away with a little shirt pull or a little push’.
“So how are goalkeepers supposed to be stronger in that sense when you’ve got somebody standing next to you obstructing you doing your job? If there’s contact before the ball arrives, I thought that was obstruction.
“Like I said, I’ll get called out for this because I’m probably behind the times and maybe there’s been a rule change.
“But there’s definitely been a shift as I see it where we’ve definitely had two goals, maybe three [against us] that maybe in the past would have been fouls on the goalkeeper. And it’s not just in our games, I’ve seen it in other games too."
Postecoglou added: "We’ve just got to adapt and adjust to it and deal with it the best way we can because obviously there’s been a shift in the way that’s been dealt with.”