Tottenham Hotspur boss Jose Mourinho said before the game that his men would need to be ‘perfect’ to beat Man City.
They most certainly were not — and City was close to it — but the result began to move to the hosts column at the Etihad Stadium off a controversial decision.
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Ilkay Gundogan was awarded a penalty after his attempt to redeem a mistouch saw Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg clatter into him in what looked like an easy penalty in real time but proved anything but straightforward.
Gundogan appeared to get his studs on Hojbjerg an instant before the Dane flattened him in the box, but VAR did not see it as a clear and obvious error.
Mourinho says that’s just how it is these days.
“A fresh team against a very tired team, but a team that started the game very very well with the game completely controlled,” Mourinho said. “[Harry Kane] Hit the post, 1-nil that could give us that fuel that you need when you are especially tired. Then one more of these modern penalties, I call them modern penalties, to put us in a difficult situation but very very happy with the players attitude. I had guys on the pitch who played two hours a couple days ago.”
So, Jose — oh, how we neutrals love this Jose — what is a modern penalty?
“Modern penalty is even when you touch with the fingernail inside the box, it can be a penalty. Then you go to VAR and VAR cannot deny that there was a touch. Sometimes with a toe, sometimes a nail, sometimes a nose, but you cannot deny a touch. That’s what I call a modern penalty.”
A decision might’ve delayed the inevitable, as City dominated the game en route to a record 16th-straight win over a domestic opponent.
City knew it wouldn’t have Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero for a run of matches against Liverpool away, Spurs at home, Everton away, Arsenal away, and West Ham at home. They have posted a 7-1 combined scoreline so far with Carlo Ancelotti’s Toffees up next.