Mauricio Pochettino jokes: I am in love with VAR, Latest Football News - The New Paper

Mauricio Pochettino jokes: I am in love with VAR

"I am in love with VAR," joked Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino after his side escaped with a 2-2 draw at Manchester City, thanks to Gabriel Jesus' late winner for the English Premier League champions being ruled out after the video assistant referee review yesterday morning (Singapore time).

Yet, the scoreline masked the fact that Spurs, despite reaching the Champions League final last season and breaking their transfer record for French midfielder Tanguy Ndombele, still look well off potential challengers to domestic treble winners City.

Pochettino's men finished 27 points behind City last season, and yesterday 27 was the difference in the shot count as Tottenham mustered three to the hosts' 30.

The Citizens twice took the lead via Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero, but Spurs' ruthlessness with the few chances they created meant they hit back with goals by Erik Lamela and Lucas Moura.

But Pochettino largely had VAR to thank for the share of the spoils at the Etihad . He joked: "I am in love with VAR.

"We need to accept that (VAR). I was a little bit critical of VAR, but now we have to accept the rules. Now it benefits us.

"No doubt it won't benefit us at other times. It's a rule we need to accept."

The Argentine's opposite number, Pep Guardiola, largely side-stepped journalists' questions about VAR, but could not resist some sarcasm, suggesting one questioner "go to London and ask the big bosses".

Last season, his team were knocked out of the Champions League by Spurs after a late Sterling "goal" was ruled out by VAR for offside.

Said Guardiola: "We lose two times against Tottenham because of VAR. Last season, it was offside and today it was hands. And that's all...

"I thought we left that situation in Tottenham in the Champions League last season.

"But it is the same. The referee and VAR disallow it. It's the second time - it's tough... but it's the way it is."

Guardiola highlighted several decisions so far this season which he views as inconsistent and gave particular focus to a first-half incident where he felt Rodri had been fouled inside the box.

He said: "It's a corner and Lamela goes over Rodri, who goes down. But VAR in that moment was taking a coffee." - AFP, REUTERS