Sean Dyche fears football is in “dangerous territory” after his Burnley side were denied a penalty in their draw with Tottenham.
The Clarets boss felt Chris Wood should have been given a penalty after Spurs’ equaliser, but the striker did not go down under Davinson Sanchez’s tackle.
In the end, Dele Alli’s penalty after Wood’s opener was enough to earn Tottenham a point.
“The game has got to be really careful now with which way it is going,” said Dyche.
“If he [Wood] flails his arms and goes flying across the floor, I bet he gives it.”
Dyche added: “We are in dangerous territory here because if a player doesn’t dramatically play act for a penalty, he doesn’t get it.
“Chris did the right thing and stayed on his feet.”
The Clarets took a deserved first-half lead when Wood tapped home the rebound after Hugo Lloris had spilled Jay Rodriguez’s long-range shot.
At that stage, Jose Mourinho’s side looked completely out of sorts but the half-time introduction of Lucas Moura and Giovani lo Celso sparked the visitors.
It was Lo Celso’s superb through ball that forced a rash challenge on Eric Lamela by Ben Mee and Alli scored from the penalty spot for his 50th Premier League goal.
In a frantic finish, Lo Celso almost scored with a curling 20-yard effort before Lloris denied Matej Vydra from point-blank range.
The result means Tottenham have now gone five games without a win in all competitions – their worst run since they went seven without a victory in the autumn of 2016.
Tottenham’s top-four struggle
Dele’s goal was his first in nine matches in all competitions.
The England man was used as a central striker by boss Jose Mourinho, who is trying to find a solution to the lack of striking options at his disposal following the injuries to Harry Kane and Son Heung-min.
Dele looked more of a threat once Mourinho changed the shape of his side at the break but he lacks the physical presence to unsettle Burnley’s defensive pair Mee and James Tarkowski. Mee in particular was a commanding presence once Tottenham sorted themselves out after the break and ensured goalkeeper Nick Pope was not truly tested.
The result leaves Tottenham four points behind Chelsea, having played a game more. Unless there is a swift reversal of fortunes, their four-year run of top-four finishes will come to an end this season.
Dier in the spotlight
Predictably, Eric Dier strode into Turf Moor without a word, which was a wise choice given he still has the possibility of an FA charge hanging over him following his confrontation in the stands after Tottenham’s FA Cup defeat by Norwich on Wednesday.
Just as he promised, Mourinho picked the England man, who slotted into the middle of a three-man central defence that also included Toby Alderweireld and Davinson Sanchez.
Equally predictable were the Burnley fans’ unsavoury chants against him, or more accurately, his brother. Before and afterwards, the Tottenham fans sang in support of the 26-year-old.
It was just Dier’s luck that when he really wanted a quiet game, it was his clearance that resulted in Burnley’s first-half goal.
In fairness, Dwight McNeil’s cross had to be cleared. Sadly for Dier, it went straight to Rodriguez, allowing the Burnley striker to get enough power into his first-time shot to make it awkward for Lloris, who gifted Wood his goal.
Dier’s evening did improve, particularly after Mourinho’s double change at half-time, which involved moving him into central midfield. Had it not been for Dier’s superbly-timed tackle on Burnley substitute Vydra, Tottenham may well not have come away with anything from the game.
Dyche’s VAR observations
Dyche used his programme notes to add his thoughts to the general debate about the video assistant referee system.
The Burnley boss is supportive of VAR, saying he is “convinced it will become more streamlined the more the powers-that-be get used to the technology”.
There will always be grey areas though. If McNeil’s cross had gone straight to Wood, any goal would have been disallowed because the ball struck the winger’s hand after a ricochet off Sanchez. However, because it was initially cleared, the infringement did not count.
Burnley have nudged back into the top half of the table- and are unbeaten in the past 14 Premier League matches in which they have led at the break.
Man of the match – Ben Mee (Burnley)
‘We are not the real deal yet’ – what they said
Burnley boss Sean Dyche: “A very rare mistake from Ben Mee and you wonder how it would affect things, but we gripped the game and I was really pleased with it.
“We build slowly, we are not the real deal yet. But I think everyone saw a good Burnley side here.
“In the second half, the referee changed his performance. Everything was given for very little, after their staff had a word coming off at half-time.
Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho: “The quality of Lucas Moura and Giovani lo Celso made a difference in the second half. I want to say but cannot say. We had something in the first half, not in the second.
“In the second we improved a lot. I think fatigue, Lucas and Lo Celso, Alli and Bergwijn had fatigue – they gave what you saw.
Wood hits new heights – the stats
- This was the 100th league meeting between Burnley and Spurs, and the 25th draw. Spurs have won 39 games to Burnley’s 36.
- Only Liverpool (48) and Manchester City (32) have earned more points than Spurs since Jose Mourinho’s first game in charge in November (27 – tied with Wolves).
- Burnley have failed to win a Premier League game at Turf Moor despite scoring the opening goal for the first time since December 2018 against Liverpool (1-3) – they had won 11 games in a row from such a position.
- There were nine yellow cards in this match – the joint-most in a single Premier League game this season (level with Arsenal v Chelsea in December).
- Dele Alli became the seventh player to reach 50 Premier League goals for Spurs – only Harry Kane (23 years 44 days) reached this milestone at a younger age for the club than Alli (23 years 331 days).
- Ben Mee has given away five penalties in the Premier League in his career, at least three more than any other Burnley player.
- Chris Wood has netted 11 league goals this season, his best-ever top-flight campaign. Wood is the third Burnley player to net more than 10 times in a Premier League campaign after Ashley Barnes last season (12) and Danny Ings in 2014-15 (11).
- Mourinho has only faced Swansea City as many times in the Premier League without losing as he has Burnley (nine each).
Burnley’s next Premier League game is away at Manchester City on Saturday, 14 March (15:00 GMT). Tottenham entertain Manchester United the following day (16:30 GMT) but before that, they will try to overturn RB Leipzig’s one-goal first-leg advantage when they go to Germany for their Champions League last-16 tie on Tuesday, 10 March (20:00 GMT).