Written by Dan Davis (@dan_davis20)
Cherries manager Eddie Howe believed that both red cards were correct decisions in his side’s dramatic late victory against nine-man Tottenham.
The visitors’ ranks were reduced to ten in the closing stages of the first-half, after Korean international Son Heung-min’s tempers flared in an off the ball altercation with Jefferson Lerma.
The forward was promptly handed his marching orders, but would be followed by substitute Juan Foyth soon after the half-time restart following the Argentine’s high and late challenge.
Questioned whether referee Craig Pawson had been correct for both decisions, Howe said: “I didn’t see Lerma’s involvement in the first one, I just saw the reaction and unfortunately I think that has to be a red card.
“And then on the second one right in front of me I think the boy (Foyth) hasn’t gone in to do Jack (Simpson) any damage at all, but the momentum of the challenge and the force he’s gone in with meant he was high and unfortunately the referee, I don’t think had any option.”
The damage could have been even worse for Tottenham, with Eric Dier also fortunate to avoid dismissal. The midfielder was adjudged to have clipped the ball away from Josh King during a Cherries counter-attack in the first-half, but replays later revealed Dier had in fact solely made contact with the Norwegian frontman.
Dier could also have been cautioned following a collision with Callum Wilson inside the penalty area, but again referee Pawson was unmoved despite vocal protests from the home faithful.
Howe said he believed Dier should also have been sent off: “It’s difficult for me to sit here on the back of two red cards and say I’m disappointed there wasn’t another one! The reality is that it possibly should have been, but I feel slightly cheeky doing it.”
The Cherries manager also revealed his side were unfortunate to have not been awarded two spot kicks in the encounter, adding: “I think there were two penalties for us in that first half. I think the challenge on King possibly was, and I haven’t seen that one so I’ll be slightly guarded, but the one with Callum (Wilson), he’s going to shoot and he’s kicked from behind. I think it’s a clear penalty.”
But despite the visitors having been reduced to nine men, Cherries struggled to break down Mauricio Pochettino’s ranks.
It was until stoppage time at the end of the clash that the deadlock was finally broken, Nathan Ake pouncing upon a Ryan Fraser corner to nod beyond Hugo Lloris and steal maximum points at the death.
And after the game, Howe was also quick to stress the difficulties of facing a side with nine men.
He said: “I’ve only had it once in my management career before and that was against Brighton. I think that was when I was at Burnley, and that was tough. Today was equally as tough.
“I think it totally changed the game, where we naturally weren’t having a lot of the ball against such a good Tottenham team in the first half. But they were creating chances, and we were playing on the counter attack and looking really dangerous in that element of our game.
“Suddenly we were dominating the ball. Tottenham were playing on the counter attack and I don’t think we did it particularly well with the advantage that we had. We didn’t use the ball intelligently enough. And then it was difficult. It looked like we were going to run out of time to win the game but thankfully we popped up with a great goal.”