LONDON, United Kingdom, Feb 23 – Mauricio Pochettino launched a furious rant at referee Mike Dean after Tottenham’s Premier League title challenge suffered a crushing blow in a controversial 2-1 defeat against Burnley, while Huddersfield were pushed closer to relegation by their 2-0 loss at Newcastle on Saturday.
Pochettino’s side would have moved within two points of leaders Manchester City with a win at Turf Moor.
But they squandered the chance to enhance their title prospects with a sloppy display that saw Chris Wood put Burnley ahead after half-time.
There was controversy about Wood’s goal as it came from a corner which Tottenham felt shouldn’t have been given.
But Pochettino’s men had a break of their own when Kane, back after missing seven games with an ankle injury, capitalised on a throw-in that was taken in the wrong place.
At that stage, Tottenham looked poised to push on for a fifth successive league victory.
However, they paid the price for sloppy defending as Barnes struck with seven minutes left to extend Burnley’s unbeaten league run to eight matches.
It was a bitter blow for third placed Tottenham, who will be eight points off top spot if second placed Liverpool, currently level on points with City, win at Manchester United on Sunday.
Pochettino was fuming at full-time, confronting Dean and his assistants on the pitch in a lengthy rant that showed his frustration at both Burnley’s first goal and Tottenham’s missed opportunity.
Television pictures seemed to show Pochettino and his assistant Jesus Perez reacting to something said to him by Dean and the Argentine reportedly carried on his finger-pointing protest in the tunnel.
But Pochettino refused to elaborate on the row, instead admitting his out of character complaints were sparked by the tension of the title race.
“We need to find someone to blame, it is myself and us because we have in our hands the capacity to win the game and we didn’t,” Pochettino said.
“I said for me this game is going to be key to put pressure on our opponents. If we didn’t win, we cannot think now of being a real contender. It is a massive opportunity lost for us.
“When you feel so disappointed and upset, you make some mistakes. We made some mistakes on the pitch and I made some mistakes afterwards on the pitch.”
– ‘Crossed cables inside my brain’ –
Dean could be seen saying “go away” as Pochettino stood inches from his face in an incident that is certain to be included in the referee’s report and may earn the Tottenham boss a touchline ban.
“There were crossed cables inside my brain. It was weird and strange and has not happened before in 10 years,” Pochettino added.
“Some stupid things happen and you react. I was never out of control but now I need to find the result.”
Asked if he would apologise to Dean, Pochettino added: “Yes, maybe, good point. Maybe I go.”
At St James’ Park, bottom of the table Huddersfield’s plight worsened when defender Tommy Smith was sent off for a crude lunge on Miguel Almiron in the 20th minute.
Newcastle made their numerical advantage pay off just seconds after the interval, Venezuela striker Salomon Rondon converting DeAndre Yedlin’s cross for his eighth goal of the season.
Ayoze Perez doubled Newcastle’s lead in the 52nd minute with a close-range finish from Rondon’s flick, moving the Magpies four points clear of the bottom three and leaving Huddersfield 14 points from safety.
Josh King went from hero to villain as Bournemouth drew 1-1 with Wolves in a bizarre tale of three penalties at Dean Court.
Eddie Howe’s team took the lead through King’s 14th minute spot kick after the Bournemouth striker tumbled theatrically under pressure from Joao Moutinho.
Raul Jimenez equalised for Wolves with an 83rd minute effort from the spot following a dubious handball decision by referee Roger East.
King should have won it moments later when East gave Bournemouth another controversial penalty after Ryan Fraser appeared to be fouled outside the area.
But this time, King couldn’t take advantage of East’s generosity as he fired wide from the spot.