Dermot Gallagher casts verdict on four big decisions in Leeds United’s defeat at Tottenham as ex-White fumes

Several of United’s players remonstrated with referee Michael Salisbury after Tottenham’s first of three equalizers in Saturday’s 4-3 victory for Antonio Conte’s side was allowed to stand. Kane netted from a 25th-minute corner to cancel out Crysencio Summerville’s opener but only after defender Clement Lenglet had barged into Whites keeper Illan Meslier who was left deep inside his net after punching the ball clear before Kane swivelled to score. Both Salisbury and Paul Tierney on VAR opted not to intervene and former Premier League official Gallagher felt Leeds were unlucky to see the goal stand.

“I think Lenglet clearly fouls the goalkeeper for me and the clue for me is that the goalkeeper is in the air,” said Gallagher on Ref Watch on Sky Sports News. “The goalkeeper is in the air, he has gone to play the ball , I think Lenglet goes into him and I think they are very, very lucky to have a goal. That’s so out of kilter with what we see week in week out. The one thing you’d say we have is this suggestion that the goalkeeper is over-protected. Well, he wasn’t there, I was surprised no foul.”

Asked why VAR had not intervened, Gallagher reasoned: “I can only presume that the referee has fed back to the VAR what he has seen, the VAR has looked at it and come to the conclusion that it’s not a clear and obvious error.”

‘LUCKY’: Harry Kane’s equalizing goal for Tottenham Hotspur against Leeds United. Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images.

Gallagher was joined in the studio by weekly guests Stephen Warnock and Sue Smith, neither of whom could understand the decision. Warnock was asked by host Rob Wotton if the goal should have stood or not and said without hesitation: “No. It was beyond me. Me and Sue were talking about this, this morning. Meslier is in a good position to punch the ball. But as soon as you get pushed, that ability to really punch the ball is weakened then so he can’t get a real punch on it. He’s pushed into the goal.

“I am in that camp where the keepers get too much protection. I think you can be a little bit physical with them to a certain degree. But when he’s in the air, you can’t push him, you can’t do that. And this is the one thing that’s really frustrating me at times is what the on-field referee has said. The on-field referee has seen it from his angle. The VAR official gets the opportunity to see it from three, four angles.

“We’ve got a clear angle here that shows that Lenglet goes into him, causes an issue, it’s a foul, clear foul. You’ve missed something. But from your angle it looks okay and it’s like how can you not see that? And how can you not understand what impact that’s having on the game as well? That’s the frustrating part of it.”

Smith added: “Meslier is coming up to try and punch it and as he is in the air he gets pushed into his net so he can’t get good contact on it and there’s no attempt to play the ball. I was so surprised that the goal was allowed to stand.”

Gallagher also gave his verdict on three other major officiating talking points from the contest, starting with Marc Roca’s challenge on Eric Dier which landed the Whites midfielder a booking. Roca caught Dier high with an outstretched leg, but Gallagher felt a booking and not a sending off was the right decision.

“I refer back to Virgil van Dijk one for which I took a lot of stick over, people saying his foot is very, very high,” said Gallagher. “I think his foot is high and I think if he follows through it’s a red card. But when you watch it, he just comes down to him and for me it’s not a serious foul play.”

Warnock added: “There’s another angle of that as well which the VAR got where you look at Marc Roca and he’s only got eyes on the ball. He doesn’t once look at the opposition player. He doesn’t once look at Dier and I think that’s probably been taken into consideration.”

Gallagher was then asked about the decision to allow Rodrigo’s strike in the 76th minute to stand amid protests from Tottenham’s players that Rodrigo Bentancur had been fouled in the build-up.

“I don’t think it’s a foul and I think even if it was a foul it would be considered too far back,” said Gallagher. “But I think, if you look, he (Bentancur) has pushed the ball too far. I just think he throws himself to the ground. I don’t think it’s a foul. The referee has got the best view, the referee is very very close and the game goes on. Not for me. The referee actually waves it away, the referee actually waves to him, no get up.”

Finally, Gallagher was quizzed about Salisbury’s decision to send off United’s already-cautioned USA international midfielder Tyler Adams for a second booking in the closing stages following a trip on Tottenham’s Yves Bissouma. There was no debate about that one.

“When you are on a yellow card you just don’t make a challenge like this because you are just inviting trouble,” said the former official. “Stephen (Warnock) used a great phrase a few weeks ago, you are offering the referee a decision.”

Adams will now be suspended for United’s return to action at home to Manchester City after the World Cup break.

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