Scott Parker questions handball rule after Fulham are denied in Spurs defeat

Jonathan Veal, PA
·3 min read

Fulham boss Scott Parker questioned the handball rule after his side were denied a deserved equaliser in a 1-0 defeat to Spurs.

The International Football Association Board’s meeting on Friday, where further clarification on the handball law is expected, could not be more timely after the Cottagers saw a goal ruled out due to the harsh rule.

After Spurs led in the first half through Tosin Adarabioyo’s own goal, Parker’s men had the ball in the back of the net when Josh Maja fired home. However, replays showed that, in the build-up, the ball had cannoned into the hand of Mario Lemina from a Davinson Sanchez clearance when he was a matter of yards away.

Fulham manager Scott Parker felt his side gained no advantage from the handball
Fulham manager Scott Parker felt his side gained no clear advantage from the handball (Neil Hall/PA)

It was an application of the rules by VAR, which Parker accepts, but he says his side did not gain a clear advantage.

“It has changed so much,” he said of the handball rule. “We look back at the start of the season when the rule was very different and penalties were being given week in week out and we were talking about changing the art of defending and defending with your arms behind the back.

“I understand why the goal was not given and that’s the rule. I don’t agree with the rule. I am not complaining with that, the referee is acting to the rule. We have VAR so you can look back and see if there is a clear advantage. I don’t think we did.

“We are trying to make the game so pure and sterile and trying to control every single phase or moment to an absolute T and that is where the problem lies.

“We want to see goals and excitement but I am sorry to say that VAR is killing every part of that. You are losing the raw emotion of the game we absolutely love.”

Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho chose not to give opinion on it, insisting that the laws are open to interpretation.

Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho saw his men claim a valuable victory at Craven Cottage
Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho saw his men claim a valuable victory at Craven Cottage (Neil Hall/PA)

“My view is not important, I don’t make decisions,” he said. “The rule gives space to interpretation and you have to accept the interpretation of the official.

“Sometimes it goes for you, sometimes against you.”

Mourinho had to watch his side hang on in the second half as they defended their first-half lead.

There have been many occasions this season where Spurs have squandered an advantage, but they held firm to earn an important win that keeps their top-four hopes alive.

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“Important win. Of course we need points and of course three better than one,” Mourinho said, who introduced Lucas Moura, Moussa Sissoko and Erik Lamela in place of Gareth Bale, Dele Alli and Tanguy Ndombele as Fulham pushed hard for a second-half equaliser.

“I believe that we really showed from the first minute that we were coming for that. The first half was a good half for us.

“Second half was harder. They put some pressure on us but I believe that when we made the changes we brought a new energy and dynamic into the team. We brought the danger to the other side.

“Even being a solid block to defend we were the team with the best chances to score in the last 10 minutes.

“There was Lamela dribbling the ball, Harry (Kane) face to face with (Alphonse) Areola and we took good control of the game in the last 10-15 minutes, the control that we lost in the 15-20 in the middle of the second half but in the end of course three points for us and very important.”