February 4, 2018 / 8:46 PM / 14 days ago

Soccer-Pochettino praises 'character' of officials after dramatic draw

LIVERPOOL, England, Feb 4 (Reuters) - Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino praised the ‘character’ of the match officials after his side snatched a point in a dramatic 2-2 draw at Liverpool on Sunday, labelling the decision to award Spurs a stoppage-time penalty ‘amazing’.

Spurs appeared to be on course for another disappointing day at Anfield -- where the London side have won just once in their last 25 Premier League visits -- after Mohamed Salah put Liverpool 2-1 in front in stoppage time.

Harry Kane, however, stepped up to convert a 95th-minute penalty, awarded to Tottenham after the linesman had spotted a foul on Erik Lamela, to snatch a point.

While Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp was angry with that decision, and one to award Tottenham an earlier penalty after Kane had been felled despite appearing to be offside -- which Kane then missed -- Pochettino was much more positive about referee Jon Moss and his assistants.

”I congratulated the referee for showing that sort of character,“ Pochettino said. ”It was difficult to know at the time if they were right but in the dressing room I confirmed that they were right in every single decision.

”Sometimes we complain about them (officials). I don’t as I decided a long time ago to stop complaining. It’s important to recognise when they are right because it’s a very difficult job for them.

”If Dejan Lovren doesn’t touch the ball, he (Kane) is offside but it’s clear that he touched the ball, so he’s onside. The second one is a clear foul by Virgil van Dijk –- it’s an amazing decision as the referee and the assistant are so focused. I have to congratulate them as it’s a very difficult decision.

“It was a fantastic performance,” Pochettino added. “Everyone who watched tuned in for an amazing game from both teams. It’s so exciting to watch. My team played well in the second half against a team that is so fantastic when they are in front. I think our control was amazing. The feeling in the dressing room is that we dropped points.” (Reporting by Peter Hall; Editing by Clare Fallon)

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