Tottenham Hotspur were treated unkindly by the football gods yesterday, utterly dominating West Ham in statistics but still coming away with a 1-1 draw thanks to fantastic goals from Pedro Obiang and Son Heung-Min.
However, one of the main talking points after the match was the performance by match official Mike Dean, who seemed to swallow his whistle at key moments for Spurs. There were at least three incidents where Dean could have awarded a penalty to Spurs, perhaps most egregiously a West Ham hand-ball in injury time (though to be fair, the NBC TV coverage did not show a replay of the incident).
In his post-match comments, Poch refused to be drawn into criticizing Dean and his team.
“No I haven’t seen [the penalty appeals]. But I trust in the referees and sometimes it’s for you and sometimes it’s against you.
“I’m going to say nothing. It’s a difficult job for them. It’s our responsibility to try to help and benefit the spectacle of the games and football. I think I need to be, we need to be focused on trying to help our team try to win and score goals and improve our players to be focused on the decision of the referee. We must let them do their job.”
A big part of me thinks that Pochettino is playing it safe here, especially after Arsene Wenger is now facing a lengthy stadium ban for blowing up at Dean after he awarded a late penalty to Chelsea in Arsenal’s match a few days prior. I can’t imagine that Poch will be happy after he does watch the incidents, but going studs-up on the officials appears to be a dangerous proposition these days. This is probably the correct answer, even if it perhaps isn’t the one he wanted to give.
Poch and Spurs fans probably have a right to feel upset by a point from this match, especially after dominating possession, shots, and shots on target. However, in that same press conference, Poch basically threw up his hands and said “Welp.”
“That’s football. In football sometimes you arrive one, two, three times and you score. Other times like today it was 31 attempts and only one goal and it was an amazing goal from Son from a big distance. I think the most difficult situation we had we scored from. But that is football eh?
“We need to accept that frustration and feel disappointed because we deserved the three points, but in the end we need to be happy with a point because when you concede a goal with the first shot they had it’s so complicated to recover the game and be calm. I am pleased for the effort and that they kept going.”
He’s not wrong. But man, it’s tough to accept after watching that match yesterday.