Impossible to analyse, says Spurs’ Postecoglou after mind-boggling defeat
Five disallowed goals, several VAR decisions, 21 minutes of stoppage time and injuries to key players left coach as mystified as everyone else
London — Tottenham Hotspur manager Ange Postecoglou said it was impossible to analyse his side’s 4-1 defeat at the hands of Chelsea as his unbeaten start to life in the Premier League came to an end in chaotic and controversial fashion on Monday.
Spurs led after six minutes but ended up with nine men following the sending off of Cristian Romero and Destiny Udogie, and only four of their starting line-up were still on the pitch when the final whistle eventually brought the drama to a close.
Five disallowed goals, several VAR decisions, a total of 21 minutes of stoppage time and two injuries to key players left Postecoglou looking as mystified as everyone in the stadium as his team missed the chance to return to the top of the table.
“It is pretty hard to process. It is almost impossible to analyse the game because it just seemed to get out of control for large parts of it,” the Australian, who masterminded Spurs’ best start to a top-flight season since 1960, told Sky Sports.
“Disappointed by the result but really proud of the players, they gave everything and that is the positive we will take.”
After Dejan Kulusevski’s deflected opening goal for the hosts, Tottenham skipper Son Heung-min had an effort ruled out for a marginal offside after a sensational passing move.
But everything changed after Moises Caicedo had an equaliser ruled out for offside following a VAR check. But during the same incident Romero was adjudged to have conceded a penalty with an over-aggressive tackle on Enzo Fernandez and was red-carded.
Cole Palmer converted the penalty following seven minutes of confusion with keeper Guglielmo Vicario almost keeping it out.
After a weekend of debate about the rights and wrongs of VAR, including an extraordinary rant by Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta on Saturday, Postecoglou tried to make sense of it all.
“There will be a forensic study of every decision out there. I think that is the way the game is going and I don’t like it,” he said.
“If you look at all that standing around we did today, maybe people enjoy that sort of thing, but I’d rather see us playing football.
“You have to accept the referee’s decision, that is how I grew up. This constant erosion of the referee’s authority is where the game is going — they are not going to have any authority.”
Even with nine men, Spurs stayed true to Postecoglou’s attacking philosophy but Nicolas Jackson eventually put Chelsea ahead in the 75th minute, though again it involved VAR with the Senegalese appearing offside in the initial stage of the move.
Spurs defender Eric Dier had a goal ruled out for offside and Son drew a great save from Robert Sanchez before Jackson bagged a hat-trick as the hosts threw caution to the wind.
“It is just who we are mate, it is who we are and who we will be for as long as I am here. If we go down to five men we will have a go,” Postecoglou added.
While defeat will hurt, of even more concern is the fact that Romero will now face a suspension and his excellent defensive partner Micky van de Ven looks set for an extended layoff after suffering a serious-looking hamstring injury.
On top of that James Maddison, who has been instrumental in Tottenham’s superb start, went off with an ankle injury.
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