Jose Mourinho took a thinly-veiled swipe at the Video Assistant Referee following Tottenham’s goalless draw with Watford, stating that “goal-line technology doesn’t make mistakes like the VAR make”.
Spurs were perhaps lucky to leave Vicarage Road with any points at all after Paulo Gazzaniga saved Troy Deeney’s penalty, but the visitors themselves almost had the ball over the Hornets’ line later in the second half.
Small margins often decide football matches and technology has been introduced to cut down on mistakes made by officials, but Mourinho was left less than impressed by the game’s officiating even with the added bonus of VAR.
“That’s how it is,” the Spurs boss said of a chance that narrowly missed going over the line. “I know it was only a couple of millimetres but goal-line technology doesn’t make mistakes like the VAR make, so we have to accept that by two millimetres it was not a goal.
“There were various decisions but I leave that for the pundits, I leave that for the referees’ specialist to do. I prefer not to speak more than what I did.
“Tottenham’s performance, separate from referee and VAR decisions, because I prefer not to comment, Tottenham’s performance was good. We started very well and immediately we had a [dangerous] situation after a couple of minutes.
“We were very dominant in the first half until they had what they always have, which is that period when they start winning more second balls, they put long balls in the box, they had one or two crosses, one or two set-plays. It’s impossible to always be dominant against them.
“In the second half I think the game was more 50-50, we weren’t as dominant as we were in the first half. We tried with the ammunition we have in the last period to bring energy and more depth from midfield with Gedson, with more vision, more quality from Eriksen.
“As you said, we were two millimetres from winning the match.”
Beset by injuries in several areas of the pitch – most notably at centre-forward with Harry Kane set for a lengthy lay-off with a hamstring injury – Mourinho detailed his tactics in trying to overcome a stubborn Watford side without having the firepower that he would have liked.
“The window is open,” he said of potentially signing a striker in January. “It can happen, it might not happen. For me the important thing, again, so many positive things from the team, a good competitive attitude. We arrived here without a part of the back four.
“We played without one single defensive [midfield] player. Winks is a link player and after that Dele Alli is an offensive player, [Giovani] Lo Celso, Lucas [Moura], [Heung-min] Sonny – and no striker.
“[We had] no defensive [midfield] players so we tried to go in the direction of control, control possession, play behind them, play between the lines, [create] overloads in some areas with players with quality and we had so many opportunities to create situations in the last third.
“Defensively we were okay. We were in a difficult situation because, as I used to say, it’s impossible to press a ball that goes in the air. They went long and we had to adapt. I don’t think Tottenham is – or was – a very good team at adapting to this kind of football.
“The boys behind, [Jan] Vertonghen, [Toby] Alderweireld, [Serge] Aurier, [Japhet] Tanganga, they did a good job for the team. We won lots of second balls in front so we were quite comfortable in a difficult game.”