Several United players have protested to referee Michael Salisbury after the first of Tottenham’s three equalizers in Saturday’s 4-3 win for Antonio Conte’s side was allowed to stand. Kane scored from a 25th-minute corner to cancel out Crysencio Summerville’s opener, but only after defender Clement Lenglet burst into the white keeper. Illan Meslier who was left in the back of his net after clearing the ball before Kane pivoted to score. Salisbury and Paul Tierney on VAR opted out and former Premier League official Gallagher felt Leeds were unlucky to see the goal.
“I think Lenglet clearly fouls the goalkeeper for me and the clue for me is the goalkeeper is in the air,” Gallagher said on Ref Watch on Sky Sports News. “The goalkeeper is in the air, he’s gone to play the ball, I think Lenglet is going into him and I think they’re very, very lucky to have a goal. It’s so out of step with what we see week in and week out The only thing you would say we have is this suggestion that the goalkeeper is overprotected Well he wasn’t there I was surprised he wasn’t there is no fault.”
Asked why the VAR didn’t intervene, Gallagher replied: “I can only assume the referee sent back to the VAR what he saw, the VAR looked at it and came to the conclusion that it is not a clear and obvious error.”
Gallagher was joined in the studio by weekly guests Stephen Warnock and Sue Smith, neither of whom could understand the decision. Host Rob Wotton asked Warnock whether the goal should have stood or not and said without hesitation: “No. It was beyond me. Sue and I were talking about it this morning. Meslier is in a good position to hit the ball. But as soon as you are pushed, then that ability to really hit the ball is weakened, so he can’t really hit it. He’s pushed into the goal.
“I’m in this camp where the keepers are overprotected. I think you can be a bit physical with them to some extent. But when he’s in the air you can’t push him, you can’t do that. And that’s the only thing that frustrates me sometimes is what the referee on the pitch said the referee on the pitch saw it from his angle the VAR official has the opportunity to see it from three, four angles.
“We have a clear angle here that shows Lenglet going into him, causing a problem, it’s a foul, a clear foul. You missed something. But from your angle it looks good and it’s like How can you not see that? And how can you not understand the impact it has on the game as well? That’s the most frustrating part.”
Smith added: “Meslier comes in to try and hit him and as he’s in the air he gets pushed into his net so he can’t get good contact on it and there’s no attempt to play. the ball. I was so surprised that the goal was allowed.”
Gallagher also gave his verdict on three other major talking points in the competition, starting with Marc Roca’s challenge to Eric Dier which earned the white midfielder a booking. Roca caught Dier high with an outstretched leg but Gallagher felt a booking and not an expulsion was the right call.
“I refer Virgil van Dijk to the one I took a lot of stick for, people say his foot is very, very high,” Gallagher said. “I think his foot is high and I think if he continues it’s a red card. But when you look at him he just put it down and to me that’s not a serious foul play.”
Warnock added: “There’s also another angle of that that VAR has where you look at Marc Roca and he only has his eyes on the ball. He doesn’t look at the opposition player once. He doesn’t don’t look once at Dier and I think that was probably taken into consideration.”
Gallagher was then asked about the decision to allow Rodrigo’s 76th-minute strike amid protests from Tottenham players that Rodrigo Bentancur had been fouled in the build-up.
“I don’t think it was a foul and I think even if it was a foul it would be considered too far,” Gallagher said. “But I think, if you look, he (Bentancur) pushed the ball too far. I just think he throws himself to the ground. I don’t think it’s a foul. The referee has the better view, the “Referee is very, very close and play continues. Not for me. Referee waves away, referee waves to him, don’t get up.”
Finally, Gallagher was asked about Salisbury’s decision to eject United’s already-warned USA international midfielder Tyler Adams for a second booking in the knockout stages after a trip over Tottenham’s Yves Bissouma. There was no debate on that.
“When you’re on a yellow card, you just don’t do a challenge like this because you’re just making trouble,” the former official said. “Stephen (Warnock) used a great phrase a few weeks ago, you offer the referee a decision.”
Adams will now be suspended for United’s return to home against Manchester City after the World Cup break.