- Tottenham manager wanted diving Bruno Fernandes ‘exposed’
- Mourinho also suggests five subs rule favours ‘powerful squads’
José Mourinho said he was “really upset” at how Tottenham were pegged back late on for a 1-1 draw by Manchester United, complaining at the nature of the equalising penalty and an even later incident when VAR overruled what would have been a second spot-kick against his team, before making a point about how the new five substitutes rule favours clubs with greater resources.
Paul Pogba, on as a second-half substitute for United, won the penalty that Bruno Fernandes converted, getting in front of Eric Dier with a piece of skill and then going to ground. United almost had another spot-kick when Fernandes went down under another Dier challenge only for VAR replays to show that the Portuguese had dived and make the overrule.
Mourinho said he did not want to talk about United’s goal before proceeding to talk about it. “On the first penalty, the referee, Jonathan [Moss] – he made his decision and I agree it’s difficult for referees but then the VAR is a different story. Referees can make mistakes but I don’t think VAR should make mistakes [in terms of not overruling].
“The second penalty is incredible. It’s a foul on Serge Aurier which should kill the situation and then there is a situation in the box [with Fernandes diving]. I feel when the VAR goes for a simulation, the player should be exposed and [given] a yellow card. So I feel really upset with these two decisions but that’s the way it is.”
United got on top after Ole Gunnar Solskjær introduced Pogba and Mason Greenwood in the 62nd minute. They would later bring on Nemanja Matic, Eric Bailly and Odion Ighalo. With Dele Alli suspended and Lucas Moura injured, Mourinho highlighted his lack of game-changing options off the bench. “The five changes was a request by the powerful squads,” Mourinho said. “It was made by top teams with top options and benches, and it was followed by the teams with the same situations.”
Solskjær praised Pogba’s contribution from the bench and defended his goalkeeper David de Gea, saying Steven Bergwijn’s fierce shot that resulted in the opener deceived him in the air. The Spaniard failed to keep the Dutchman’s effort out, which opened the scoring for the home side. De Gea was well positioned behind the ball but proved unable to prevent the goal.
However the United manager said: “I’m disappointed that they scored with their first chance. David is disappointed but the ball was moving through the air. We reacted well after that and David made a good save five minutes after that [from Son Heung-min]. We had a bad spell for 10 minutes so when David saved that we were still in the game at half-time.”
When Solskjær brought Pogba on the French midfielder rewarded him with a game-changing cameo that led to his side’s equalising penalty. “Paul did well and it’s not a problem having a fit PP in the squad,” the manager said. “He did everything a midfielder should do, he tackled, he won the ball, he played passes and showed skill. Everyone saw the quality he can provide.
“He always has a point to prove to himself and to us – he wants to be the best. He’s had such a frustrating season with all his injuries [but] he has shown how he can contribute. He showed skills to win us the penalty. I just look forward to getting him fitter. Gradually, we will see more and more of him.”