LONDON, England, April 16 – Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp called for the swift introduction of goal-line technology after a key decision went against Spurs in their 5-1 FA Cup semi-final thrashing by Chelsea.
Redknapp graciously declined to criticise referee Martin Atkinson for his 49th-minute blunder at Wembley which gifted Chelsea a two-goal cushion and left Tottenham chasing the game.
Gareth Bale raised hopes of a Tottenham fightback with a goal that made it 2-1 but late strikes from Ramires, Frank Lampard and Florent Malouda completed a resounding win for Chelsea.
While Tottenham would have had every right to feel aggrieved that they were picked apart by Chelsea as they sought an equaliser they should not have been obliged to chase, Redknapp was philosophical in defeat.
“I came in at half-time and thought we didn’t deserve to be behind,” Redknapp said. “I thought we were the better team first half.
“They had scored a wonder goal and there was little we could do about that but I thought we could get back in the game.
“But then the second goal obviously was a disaster. It was nowhere near a goal. It’s an honest mistake but it wasn’t anywhere near over the line when you look at it.”
Redknapp said Spurs had been caught out as they attempted to get back in the game after Bale’s goal.
“We were back in it. But then in the last 20 minutes we opened up, I brought another striker on and played with four forwards and we looked too open and got punished,” he said.
Redknapp refused to attach too much blame to Atkinson however and said the incident proved the need for goal-line technology.
“He’s made a big mistake. But he hasn’t done it on purpose. I don’t see how he can give the goal because it’s nowhere near over the line.
“There were bodies on the line. There’s no way the ball could have gone anyway near over the line.
“There’s nothing we can do about it now. You need goal-line technology — surely it’s got to come into the game hasn’t it? Eventually it’s got to happen. “You can’t keep having situations like that. It’s one of those things.”
Redknapp said he had spoken to Atkinson after the match who had confessed to his error.
“He said he feels worse than I do,” Redknapp said. “I said ‘I don’t think so.’ He said he feels bad. He’s made a mistake. He’s said he’s going to have a bad week as well. But there’s nothing we can do now.”
Football’s world governing body FIFA has said it expects to make a decision on the introduction of technology later this year.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter changed his long-held opposition to technology following the 2010 World Cup incident when England midfielder Frank Lampard was denied a clear goal against Germany.
Redknapp said introduction of technology was inevitable.
“We can’t keep going on like we’re going at the moment with important decisions not being correct. The referees don’t make mistakes purposely. It’s a difficult job. He obviously felt it was a goal.”
Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo sympathised with Tottenham but noted that the emphatic nature of the final scoreline suggested the result had not hinged on the controversial second goal.
“Apparently it hasn’t (crossed the line) so in this case we were on the lucky side, but many times before we had decisions going against us,” Di Matteo said.
“But we didn’t score only two goals today we scored five so I’m not sure how much it mattered.”
Di Matteo was pleased his side have suddenly developed an eye for goal with Wednesday’s crunch Champions League semi-final against Barcelona looming ever closer.
“It hasn’t always been like that this season but tonight we scored some cracking goals. We always create chances and that’s important,” Di Matteo said.