Since Mourinho returned to the Premier League to manage Tottenham last summer, he has constantly had reasons to complain about the Video Assistant Referee (VAR). He has once described the technology as a problem that might destroy the beautiful game of football.
In his earlier jobs in the Premier League, Mourinho who has coached Chelsea and Manchester United is known to have suffered a couple of sanctions from the English FA due to his criticism of refereeing in the country. Hence, he has decided to be a different man at Tottenham. He always insists that he does not want to comment against referees or VAR’s decisions that go against his team.
But no matter how much he tries to stop himself from talking, Michael Oliver is one referee that will never be too far from his lips. Mourinho has described Oliver, who is now more involved with handling the VAR than centre refereeing, as a powerful person who does not like to be criticised.
Whenever the name of Oliver comes up, he would say, if he should say how he feels, he would be banned, just to prove how powerful the referee has become in the Premier League.
Why Jose Mourinho might never like Michael Oliver
From his days with Chelsea football club and with other top clubs he has managed, Jose Mourinho is known to be a manager who has never been afraid to say how he feels. But lately, he has been trying as hard as possible to make the world believe that he is afraid of referee Michael Oliver and he doesn’t respect the referee’s ability.
The Portuguese tactician started showing how unhappy he is with the referee after Tottenham Hotspur was stunned by Sheffield United as they lost 3-1 to the team. During the match, when Sheffield scored the first goal, Harry Kane equalised almost immediately, but before they could finish celebrating, the VAR which was being handled by Michael Oliver ruled that a handball was committed in the build-up to the goal.
On Thursday, Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham Hotspur were also denied a penalty when they faced relegation-threatened Bournemouth. Josh King pushed Tottenham’s Harry Kane in the back in the 4th minute and he fell in the box-eighteen. The centre-referee, Paul Tierney, decided to overlook the challenge and the VAR which was handled by the same Michael Oliver also overlooked it. After that, Tottenham didn’t have such a chance throughout the match and it ended 0-0.
“The game had the most important moment – you know when, you know who – and I don’t want to say anything more in relation to that because everyone knows and I don’t need to say much more. Everybody knows,” Mourinho told Sky Sports.
“The same referee that was the VAR against Sheffield United. In the world, everybody knows that is a penalty. And I say, everybody, I mean everybody. It’s not just my opinion, everyone in the world, everybody knows that is a penalty. And when I say everybody, I say, everybody, everybody.
“I am not saying that Harry Kane scores 100 per cent of his penalties, but it is very very high. Normally at minute five, we would be winning 1-0 against a team in trouble, I think the game would be completely different.
“Like Sheffield, the man of the match was not one of the players. But at Sheffield, I could blame myself and the players, today I could not do that.”
But Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham also enjoy VAR’s decisions
Though Jose Mourinho is gradually looking like a manager that is suffering a lot from the decisions of the VAR, he has also enjoyed a couple of them. Besides the fact that the VAR didn’t favour the manager against Bournemouth, the match is Mourinho’s worst Premier League match since 2007 in terms of attack.
Tottenham ended the match with 60 per cent possession but had no shot on target throughout the duration of the match. The last time Mourinho had such a record was in April 2007 when he led Chelsea to face Newcastle. Besides that, Tottenham 0-0 draw with Bournemouth last night was Tottenham’s 186 Premier League draw.
Talking about how Mourinho has benefitted from the decisions of the VAR, Bournemouth also had the opportunity of winning the game last night but the VAR disallowed Callum Wilson’s goal. This has made it six times that Tottenham conceded a goal but was ruled out by VAR.
Tottenham Hotspur are only 3rd to Brighton and Southampton in terms of clubs that have enjoyed more of such privilege. The two clubs have conceded 7 goals each but were disallowed by the VAR this season.
Well, Sunday is another day for Tottenham and Jose Mourinho to face Michael Oliver once again. The referee will be in the VAR room when Tottenham face Arsenal in the must-win match for both teams. People will not only watch out for what will happen on the pitch, but they will also monitor the VAR screen themselves.