Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho revealed his bewilderment with VAR after stating “only the referee can explain” the incident that led to Brighton’s equaliser.
Spurs secured a narrow 2-1 victory over Brighton after substitute Gareth Bale notched his first Premier League goal in seven years.
The Seagulls went toe-to-toe with Tottenham throughout the contest, but were possibly fortunate that their equalising goal was not disallowed by VAR.
Solly March won back possession by appearing to foul Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, but no infringement was given despite the referee checking the monitor.
Speaking to Sky Sports after the match, Mourinho said: “First of all it’s three points. When teams with more power and history, one of the top six let’s say, has a difficult match against the others it is always analysed as the top team not playing well.
“It is time to give credit to these guys. Not just to Brighton, the majority of the teams. They are getting better, they are very well coached, the difference in quality of players between the teams is not huge. The game is very difficult for us, we beat a good team and it was very difficult.
“They had periods when they were better than us. The good thing for me is that when they equalised we had the reaction.
“Gareth Bale is very stable, very mature, he knows his body better than anyone, we know where we want to go and he’s with us on that journey.
“He doesn’t have 90 minutes of Premier League in his legs, the Europa League is helping him to get there. Today he came and scored, he is more dynamic than he was against West Ham, more agile.
“I prefer to stay away [from VAR]. Probably the referee should go to the press conference and explain. He had time to go to the screen so only he can explain why it is a goal. He is a good ref and a good guy, only he can explain that decision. My view doesn’t matter.
“In 2004 when I came to England there were certain matches that the top teams knew was three points – not any more.
“Now this is the best league in the world, not just because of the top six, for every team. The Premier League, every one is close. If we drop two points we can be seventh, eighth ninth. The Premier League is beautiful.”
Tottenham’s in-form centre-forward Harry Kane was on the scoresheet again, and expressed his delight for “Gaz” Bale after rubber stamping his return to Spurs in style.
“We said it was a great chance to go second in the league and put ourselves up there,” Kane told Sky Sports. “We had to grind it out.
“I’m delighted for Gaz to come on and make an impact and that’s what we need to win games. He’s had a mini pre-season with us, it’s about getting fit and sharp, we all know what he can do at the highest level.
“Every game he’ll get stronger, we need every player to make an impact.
“We have let points slip and today could have been similar but we are learning – these games are the ones you need to grind out.”
FULL MATCH REPORT: Bale back with a bang as Tottenham squeeze past spirited Brighton
Bale talks Tottenham title chances
Welsh winger Bale was predictably ecstatic with his first meaningful contribution that propelled Tottenham up to second in the table, but offered a measured response when asked about title chances.
“It’s a great feeling,” he told Sky Sports. “You just want to come on and do a job for the team. I worked for the team and was lucky enough to get the goal.
“It was obviously great play from Sergio Reguilon and I was in the right place at the right time. It’s nice to get off the mark.
“Everyone always talks about individuals but I’ve always said I’m a team player, I’d be happy coming on doing a job even if it’s defending. The most important thing is the collective.
“We are growing every game. Even if we make mistakes we are learning from them and we can only use that as a positive. I haven’t played a lot of soccer. I had a little problem with my knee so it’s taking a bit of time. I am working hard in training and when I get chances.”
On Tottenham competing for the title: “Very competitive, we know not to get too carried away. There are some great teams, we are just going to keep working as hard as we can.”
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