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Jose Mourinho points finger at Tottenham’s rivals as he defends Harry Kane

Tottenham Hotspur v Brighton and Hove Albion – Premier League – Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
(Image credit: Julian Finney)

Jose Mourinho launched an impassioned defence of Harry Kane over criticism in the media for the way he won a penalty in Tottenham’s 2-1 win over Brighton.

Kane has been accused of drawing a foul from Adam Lallana, who toppled over his back, with the original free-kick being upgraded to a penalty after VAR ruled it occurred inside the box.

The England captain converted from the spot, but has been the subject of intense analysis over his role in winning the spot-kick.

Harry Kane scored the penalty

Harry Kane scored the penalty (John Walton/PA)

Mourinho came out fighting during his press conference to preview the Europa League tie against Ludogorets on Thursday, insisting players at Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United deserve bigger scrutiny.

“I think, I’m not speaking to you, I’m speaking to you (media) in general, you are confused,” he said.

“Because you could be speaking about some Manchester United players, you could be speaking about some Man 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 a very reckless action and commit 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.”

There was more VAR drama in the game as referee Graham Scott chose not to award a foul to Tottenham in the build-up to Brighton’s equaliser.

And Mourinho says that is the decision that should be under focus.

Referee Graham Scott chose not to disallow Brighton's equaliser against Tottenham

Referee Graham Scott chose not to disallow Brighton’s equaliser against Tottenham (Mike Hewitt/PA)

He said: “What are you speaking about? In relation to that game, 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.

“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 the last 15 minutes and control the game.”

Kane will be part of the “full power” Tottenham team that takes on Ludogorets in a game that takes on extra significance following the 1-0 loss against Royal Antwerp last week.

Mourinho has confirmed that Sergio Reguilon, Erik Lamela and Serge Aurier will not make the trip.

“Reguilon is ill but not the Covid situation at all, just flu,” he said. “We don’t want to be with the team, he could, but he we don’t want him to because that position we have two great players and professionals. Ben Davies is Ben Davies so no problem with that.

“Lamela has a little problem for a few weeks and after the last match we decided it’s the moment to stop and have this week plus the two weeks of internationals for him to recover fully.

“Aurier a little problem, nothing important but he decided with the medical team that he didn’t want to risk (playing tomorrow).”