Steve Bruce described the combination of VAR and football’s new handball rules as “nonsense” despite seeing it earn his Newcastle side an ill‑deserved draw at Tottenham, and said football’s lawmakers should be pushed to reconsider.
Newcastle secured a point in added time when Callum Wilson equalised from the penalty spot after replays showed Andy Carroll’s header had struck an arm of an unwitting Eric Dier.
A draw was an excellent outcome for the visiting side after they had been outplayed but Bruce said: “If you’re going to tell me that is handball then we all may as well pack it in. It’s a nonsense, a nonsense of a rule. It’s gone for us today – however, it’s ludicrous.”
Bruce appeared to suggest pressure should be put on the International Football Association Board to change the law and he agreed with Roy Hodgson, who had similarly called it “a nonsense ruining the game of football” after his Crystal Palace side’s defeat by Everton on Saturday.
“We’ve got away with one,” Bruce said. “It fell for us today. Maybe we should query these new rules and who makes them. I thought VAR would come in for the clear and obvious. It’s ludicrous. I am not a big lover of it. We saw Roy Hodgson last night. It’s a nonsense. We saw a ridiculous one yesterday with Everton and their winning goal; we saw an equally ridiculous one today. I should be happy but I can’t say I agree with it.”
By contrast José Mourinho chose to say little about the decision, although his demeanour left little to the imagination. “If I want to give some money away I give to charity‚” he said. “I don’t want to give to the FA so I prefer not to comment.”
That was not quite the end of it, Mourinho suggesting cryptically that “the Tottenham box is a special box”. He also picked his moment to say Spurs are not treated with respect to match their standing. “The only feeling that I am ready to share, I don’t feel Tottenham is respected according to what the club is as a club. No respect. It’s just my feeling.”