Jose Mourinho has launched an impassioned defence of Harry Kane after the Tottenham striker was criticised for “winning” a penalty against Brighton and insisted Spurs’ Premier League rivals deserve greater scrutiny for exaggerating contact in the box.
The opening goal of Sunday’s 2-1 win over Brighton came from the penalty spot after Kane was adjudged to have been fouled by Adam Lallana. Referee Graham Scott initially awarded a free kick but the VAR official Jon Moss upgraded that decision to a spot kick on review having deemed the incident took place just inside the box.
“I never spoke about penalties, that’s not part of the things we want to improve,” Mourinho said at a news conference on Wednesday.
“I think, I’m not speaking to you, I’m speaking to you [media] in general, you are confused. Because you could be speaking about some Manchester United players, you could be speaking about some Manchester City players, you could be speaking about some Liverpool players, you could be speaking about some Chelsea players and you’re speaking about Harry Kane?
“He was in a position to control the ball in a dangerous position and Lallana came in with a very reckless action and committed a foul. What are you speaking about being clever or being not clever? Being clever is to hold the ball and shoot and score. It was a foul.
“What is the media speaking about? What are you speaking about? It is a foul. Direct free kick or penalty, it’s for the VAR to decide, the referee to decide. The referee decided direct free kick.
“I was OK because from my distance I thought ‘OK, maybe it is a direct free kick’ but then the VAR told [him] it is inside [the box]. Like it happened in another match, in a previous fixture, outside or inside. The VAR decided it was inside because it was on the line. What are you speaking about, being clever with that? It is not being clever.
“Harry Kane is there to score goals. He just wants to control the ball. He sees the ball in the air, he uses his body to protect and Lallana was reckless. He made a mistake. He made a mistake. Period. What are you speaking about?”
He also cited issues at other clubs where players, who he didn’t name, have been accused of simulation.
“In relation to that game [against Brighton], if you want to speak about that game you have to speak about something that happened that could have a direct impact on the result of the game, which was their goal,” Mourinho said.
“There is no more story. What are you speaking about us? Speak about Liverpool, speak about Man City speak about Man United. Speak about these penalties that you see the clever guy that comes [near] somebody and blows, they are on the floor.
“Don’t speak about Harry Kane. When I say my team has to be ready to compete, I’m not speaking about that. I’m speaking about winning 2-1 against a very difficult Brighton and play for last 15 minutes and control the game.
“I’m speaking about Brighton to play Dan Burn as a striker for the last 10 minutes and my team to press high and don’t let Burn put one foot in our box. Against Newcastle we let Andy Carroll get in our box and provocate a penalty in the last minute [to draw 1-1].
“Against West Ham we let them do the same and have lateral free-kicks against us [when the Hammers came back from 3-0 down to draw 3-3].
“Against Burnley we didn’t let [Chris] Wood put a foot in box in our box, against Brighton we didn’t let Dan Burn put a foot in our box. That’s what I mean. That’s what I mean.”