There’s nothing as demoralizing as a last-gasp loss to your Premier League rivals. Ryan Mason is a former Spurs player, so he probably knows that better than anyone, but this match in particular hurt.
Tottenham Hotspur did well to battle back against Liverpool at Anfield, after going down 3-0 inside the first 15 minutes of the match. In fact, when Richarlison scored in the 90th minute of the match, it seemed as though they had done something almost unheard of — come back from an early and big deficit to earn a result away at Liverpool.
But Diego Jota and the hosts had other plans. Jota, who shouldn’t even have been on the pitch after putting his shoulder-high studs into the forehead of Oliver Skipp earlier in the match, capitalized on a hospital ball back-pass from Lucas Moura to score almost instantly after Tottenham finished celebrating, and the Reds walked away with a 4-3 win. A dramatic match, great for the neutrals but a real kick to the unmentionables for Spurs fans.
That includes Mason. In his post-match interview, Spurs’ interim-interim-head coach said he was basically furious, not only because of the officiating decisions that didn’t go Spurs way, but also because his team blew it so badly in the beginning.
“It is hard to put into words to be perfectly honest. How the game went and obviously equalizing at the end, fully deserved. To gift them the winner at the end is impossible to take at this minute.
“It is just hard to think of any positives at the moment. We know with the ball we are an exceptional team, we can score goals and hurt anyone in this league with the ball, but you don’t just win games just with the ball and when you literally give the opposition four goals without having to earn it, it makes it very difficult.
“At the same time we probably could have scored three of four more. I felt like we were probably the better team overall in terms of creating opportunities, but to give the opposition goals it makes it difficult to win games of football.
“I wouldn’t say we were unlucky. I would say we helped Liverpool. I don’t think there was luck involved, because they were clinical, even the moment at the end from a player that shouldn’t be on the pitch, he took the finish well. So it’s hard to really take - difficult to put into words at the moment. It’s really tough.”
He’s right, of course. If Spurs don’t shit the bed at the start of this match, it’s very possible they go on to win, perhaps comfortably. But when you ship three goals in 15 minutes, all of them to varying degrees due to defensive errors or breakdowns, it becomes very hard to win football matches. While it sounds very much like a apart from that Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play situation, Tottenham put three balls off the post, had a stone-cold Richarlison penalty waved off, and should’ve been up a man late in the game.
Speaking of the match official, Mason seemed measured in his interview but was clearly apoplectic over Paul Tierney’s decision not to send off the matchwinner Jota, who had inexplicably not been sent off for putting a shoulder-high boot to the face of Oliver Skipp. Skippy ended up bleeding on the pitch and had to be eventually substituted. Mason wanted answers as to why Jota got the benefit of the doubt, when it’s very likely if the teams had been reversed Spurs wouldn’t have been afforded the same courtesy.
“I would like an explanation and a reason why it wasn’t. I can understand referees and officials on the pitch missing it even though my feeling was an instant red card because when your foot is studs showing and you’re five and a half feet off the ground and make contact with a player’s head and draw blood, and there is a gash, I think it ticks all the boxes.
“Probably more so an experienced referee in the VAR room, you want him to help the official on the pitch in that moment. Listen, it’s decided the game because that player on the pitch shouldn’t have been on there at the end decided the game. I’m pretty sure most football people’s opinions will probably feel the same.
“I felt like we didn’t get that decision, it was a big decision, a crucial decision and one you can’t really miss. I find it hard and impossible to really understand why.”
I’m sure we’ll get a lovely admission of error from the PGMOL in a couple of days and a box of tissues.
Mason now has a week to continue the Good Vibes injection within the playing squad ahead of Spurs’ next match at home against Crystal Palace on Saturday.