Jose Mourinho: Tottenham's big players hid in first half and was tiredness to blame for referee's 'mistake'?

Jose after the 2-1 defeat to Arsenal: "In terms of creating attacking football, some important players were hiding... It’s a mistake by Michael Oliver, players get tired with so many matches, coaches get tired, maybe referees get tired?"

Jose Mourinho shares his thoughts on Michael Oliver's decision to award Arsenal a penalty, which ultimately inflicted a 2-1 defeat for Tottenham and feels the officials made a mistake

Jose Mourinho criticised his "big players" for "hiding" during their defeat to Arsenal and questioned Michael Oliver after what he deemed "a mistake" in awarding a penalty.

Arsenal sealed their first north London derby win since December 2018 after fighting back from a goal down to beat 10-man Tottenham 2-1 on Super Sunday.

Defeat dents Spurs' top-four hopes as Mourinho's side - whose five-match winning streak came to an end - stay seventh in the Premier League table, six points behind fourth-placed Chelsea.

Spurs only registered one shot - Erik Lamela's superb opening goal - in the first 70 minutes as Arsenal completely dominated proceedings. Strangely, Spurs improved after Lamela was sent off and hit the post late on through Harry Kane.

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Mourinho admitted his team were way below their usual standard in the first half, criticising his "big players" for hiding in a derby match.

He told Sky Sports: "In the first half we were really bad.

"No intensity, no pressing. In terms of creating attacking football, some important players were hiding. In the second half we only had to improve which we did.

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"We recovered what we lost in the first half which was the control of the game. We made changes to try and win and then the penalty and a second yellow card for Lamela. In the final 25-30 minutes the team tried to get a result.

"I'm not going to mention individuals as the team is the team. I belong to the team and I am just as guilty as the players for that first half. The good thing is we really improved in the second half as we came to the second half with a completely different control of the game. We made changes to what we thought would improve the team. Even playing with 10 men."

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Mourinho was clearly irked with the decision to award Arsenal a penalty - one that Alexandre Lacazette won and scored.

Lacazette took an air shot at the ball before being wiped out by a lunging Davinson Sanchez. The referee pointed to the spot - with VAR agreeing with the decision - before Lacazette picked himself up off the floor to send Hugo Lloris the wrong way to give the Gunners the lead.

Both Sky Sports pundits Jamie Redknapp and former Arsenal midfielder Freddie Ljungberg thought it was a harsh decision - as did Mourinho, who questioned Oliver's workload ahead of the match, claiming he could have been tired.

Davinson Sanchez gave away a penalty for this foul on Alexandre Lacazette
Image: Davinson Sanchez gave away a penalty for this foul on Alexandre Lacazette

Mourinho, who remarked in his press conference that the Lacazette decision was an "offence to a penalty", said: "A question, an impossible one as they don't speak, for Michael [Oliver] to answer. And probably Paul Tierney too, the VAR. But according to Kevin Friend [fourth official] the referee said he had a clear vision and the VAR couldn't or didn't want to go against him.

"From the bench I have a feeling, but I am 40-50 metres away. I watched immediately on the iPad. The referees have a difficult job sometimes. I didn't complain but when I watched on the iPad - it is what it is.

"If someone has a different opinion it has to be one of the Arsenal fans with a season ticket as that's the only time I'd accept a different view as then he has the passion. Apart from that I wouldn't accept from anyone who has a different view as it's too obvious.

"It's a mistake by Michael Oliver, players get tired with so many matches, coaches get tired maybe referees get tired? He had a game midweek in Europe, maybe he's tired. Usually I'm very unlucky as my record with him on penalties is astonishing - with Chelsea, Man Utd, Tottenham, it doesn't matter. I'm just very, very unlucky with such a good referee."

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