Spurs manager bemoans referee’s ‘huge mistake’

SPURS manager Harry Redknapp last night hit out at referee Martin Atkinson for awarding Chelsea’s second goal at Wembley, describing the decision as a “huge mistake”.

Television pictures clearly showed that Juan Mata’s 48th-minute shot was scuffed cleared by Benoit Assou-Ekotto before the ball crossed the line. Yet despite having a clear sight of the goal, Atkinson almost instantly blew his whistle to award Chelsea the goal.

“The second goal was a disaster,” said Redknapp. “It was nowhere near a goal. It was a huge mistake.

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“We looked too open after that and they picked us off. It was key. He’s (Atkinson) made a big mistake. I don’t see how he can give the goal. It’s nowhere near over the line.

“There were bodies on the line and the ball couldn’t possibly get over the line. He must have (guessed). He can’t have been sure.”

Tottenham’s players were incensed at the decision and surrounded the referee and assistant Mick McDonough after the ‘goal’, but it was already too late.

Redknapp revealed Atkinson had approached him afterward to apologise.

Redknapp added: “I spoke to him. He says he feels worse than I do. I said: ‘I don’t think so’.

“He knows he’s made a mistake and he says he’ll have a bad week as well.

“Goal-line technology has to come into the game. You can’t keep having situations like that,”

Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo understood his opposite number’s frustration, but denied the decision altered the course of the game.

The Italian said: “Apparently it didn’t cross the line. I can understand the frustration, but I don’t know how much it would have mattered because today we scored five, not two.

“Sometimes you get a decision. Other times you don’t.”

Meanwhile, Chelsea have condemned “a very small minority of fans” who did not observe the minute’s silence at Wembley yesterday to mark the 23rd anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster. A statement added that the fans “embarrassed” the club.