Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom was dismayed by the standard of officiating on display as his side lost to Tottenham Hotspur in dramatic circumstances on Saturday.
The Blades appeared to be on their way to a famous win over Spurs when Hamer gave them the lead in the second half. But Richarlison scored a dramatic equaliser deep into injury time to deny them victory.
The visitor’s hearts were well and truly broken just moments later as Dejan Kulusevski scored the winning goal in the 101st minute of the game to take all the spoils for Spurs and complete the latest ever comeback in Premier League history.
Heckingbottom went on a long and considered rant on not just referee Peter Bankes’ handling of the match, but officiating in English football in general. The 46-year-old was angered by the fact that no action was taken after goalkeeper Wes Foderingham receive a blow to the head and Oli McBurnie’s sending off. The forward received a second booking for arguing with the referee following Kulusevski’s winner.
The former Leeds boss bemoaned “appalling” and “crazy” manner in which the game was officiated. “We’re letting these guys run our game and we need to stop them,” he complained on BBC’s Match of the Day programme.
Tottenham have now won four games in a row and sit second in the Premier League table behind Man City. Meanwhile, Sheffield United are still winless in all competitions and sit just outside the relegation zone on goal difference.
Paul Heckingbottom’s reaction to Tottenham win over Sheffield United in full:
“Obviously it’s sickening for everyone involved in the dressing room. To come so close to three points, then thinking you’re going to have settle for one, and come away with nothing.
“Ultimately that’s what we play for, we play for the points and that’s why it hurts. But that doesn’t alter the performance. Obviously in the week we’ll focus on how we can be better, but right now we have to be positive about how we played.
“You can see how they celebrated when they won the game, we did that to them. I’d rather have the points than be saying that to you, but sometimes that’s the way it goes. We have to take it on the chin and be ready for next week.
“The majority of their play was outside the box, you have to accept you will give the other team something. So for us to limit them like that, that was pleasing. If we could have took one or two more of our chances, that would have been really ruthless. There’s bits that we could do better, but overall another improved performance.
“It was an appalling game the way it was managed. I know Spurs won the football match but I was saying the same thing at 0-0. At half-time I came to see the referee, when we were 1-0 I was saying the same things.
“The referees are dictating to our goalkeeper how we play. You see from minute one we split, Spurs adjust what they do so we have to adjust again. All of a sudden our keeper is booked for handling outside and he’s told he’s going to get another yellow if he doesn’t play the ball.
“But we have to wait and see how Spurs are going to stop us playing out before he can make a decision. They don’t understand what I’m saying to them and they’re refereeing a game in the top flight. Peter Bankes is a good guy, but this is nothing new. It’s sad.
“Wes got jumped into by a player who turned his back and led with his elbow, stitches. Deemed the same offence by the referee as Oli McBurnie saying someone is pulling his shirt. Where are we going? Where are we going? It’s tough for me, we all love the game but the people who know the least about football are directing where the game is going. And that’s what I can’t take.
“Crazy. Absolutely barmy, but we’re letting these guys run our game and we need to stop them.”