Liverpool forward Diogo Jota has revealed he apologised to Tottenham midfielder Oliver Skipp after catching the Spurs man in the head during Sunday’s 4-3 victory.
Spurs fans were incensed as Jota avoided punishment when his high boot made contact with Skipp’s head – forcing the midfielder to leave the game with a nasty cut – and their anger grew even further as the Portugal international went on to score the latest of winners when most supporters believed he should not have been on the pitch in the first place.
Straight after the game, Jota confirmed he apologised to Skipp but insisted he agreed with the referee’s decision not to brandish a red card.
“It was not good, obviously it’s not my intention to cause any harm to him,” Jota told Premier League Productions. “But unfortunately, it happened.
“I asked him ‘sorry’, that’s all I could do after that bad tackle but I also think it’s not a red because I touched the ball and there was no intention to cause him any harm.”
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Despite Jota’s belief, Spurs interim boss Ryan Mason was left stunned that Jota avoided further punishment for the incident.
“It’s one of the clearest red cards I’ve seen, it’s difficult to take,” Mason told Sky Sports. “It’s an impossible one to miss.
“When you talk about endangering an opponent, to draw blood from a stud when Skipp’s head is five-and-a-half feet in the air baffles me. That type of decision is maybe the difference between winning the game or not.
“It’s tough to understand and I would like an explanation. I saw the incident in real time and you have a feel for those sort of moments. The VAR official has the benefit of a replay.”
Mason continued: “I would like an explanation and a reason why it wasn’t [a red card]. I can understand referees and officials on the pitch missing it even though my feeling was an instant red card because when your foot is studs showing and you’re five-and-a-half feet off the ground and make contact with a player’s head and draw blood, and there is a gash, I think it ticks all the boxes.
“Probably more so an experienced referee in the VAR room, you want him to help the official on the pitch in that moment. Listen, it’s decided the game because that player on the pitch shouldn’t have been on there at the end. I’m pretty sure most football people’s opinions will probably feel the same.”
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