Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino was at a loss to understand why Jan Vertonghen had a late goal ruled out in the 2-1 Premier League win over Sunderland on Saturday.
The Belgian defender gave his side the lead after just three minutes with a deflected finish inside the area, before Sebastian Larsson curled home a superb 30-yard free-kick to restore parity.
Christian Eriksen lashed a shot home two minutes from time to ensure Tottenham of the points, but there was controversy deep into stoppage time when goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon’s decision to come up for a corner allowed Vertonghen to break away and slot home into an empty net, only for the effort to be ruled out for offside.
Television replays suggested that the defender had received the ball well inside his own half, leaving Pochettino baffled at the decision.
“I think that the referee and the linesman were a little bit confused on the rule because when the pass got to Jan it was before he had got to the opponents’ half, and it was a quick action, so maybe the referee was not focusing on the game,” he said.
“It was difficult because if it had been 1-1 and this decision had decided the game, maybe I would be in a different mood.
“At 3-1 it would have finished the game but we need to remember that we are all human and we all make mistakes.”
He added: “I don’t like to speak to officials when the game is finished. It’s impossible to change the decision and I understand it’s not an easy job.”
Aside from the disallowed goal, Pochettino was happy with what he saw at White Hart Lane, singling out match-winner Eriksen for particular praise.
“I’m happy for him – he has big, big potential and he’s improving every day,” the Tottenham coach added.
“I’m happy for his performance but more happy for the team performance. I think we were better than Sunderland and deserved to get the three points and now we need to look forward and prepare for the [League Cup] semi-final on Wednesday [against Sheffield United]. It’s impossible to take time off and we now need to think about it.”
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