Spurs midfielder hits back at West Ham boss after diving allegations
Tottenham’s Nabil Bentaleb has hit back at West Ham manager Sam Allardyce’s suggestions that Harry Kane went down too easily to win his last-minute penalty in yesterday’s 2-2 draw at White Hart Lane.
And the Spurs midfielder has pointed out that the Hammers could easily have been reduced to 10 men when Mark Noble luckily avoided a second yellow card for a late tackle on him.
Spurs trailed 2-0 when Noble, who had already been booked, scythed Bentaleb down – but he escaped a second yellow card and was substituted soon after.
Tottenham went on to mount a late comeback, with Danny Rose halving the deficit in the 81st minute before Alex Song pushed Kane from behind in the 95th minute, conceding a penalty at the death.
Kane scored at the second attempt after his initial spot-kick was saved, grabbing a point, but Allardyce was unhappy with the penalty decision.
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“You can argue whether Alex Song has made enough contact for Harry Kane to go down, but when you’re desperate like Tottenham are, you get touched and the player is going to fall over,” said the Irons boss. “Maybe we should be more like Tottenham - we stay on our feet.”
Bentaleb responded: “He can say whatever he wants. We scored a penalty in the last minute, maybe it’s because of this – I can understand if he’s a little bit angry. But it’s not true. Of course it was a penalty, there’s no doubt about that.
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“If he wants to argue we could also say Noble could have been sent off. But this is football, sometimes the referee makes decisions and you just have to shut your mouth and not complain.”
Tottenham were fortunate to escape with a draw after a generally poor performance.
“We made some little mistakes that slowed down the pace of the game, and we let them back in the game when we had them on toast,” said Bentaleb. “We conceded two goals – they took their chances, credit to them. But the positive thing we can take out of this game is that we believed until the end and once again we scored in the last minute and managed to get that point.”
Spurs have now picked up 13 points from goals scored in the last five minutes of their league games – seven more than any other side – yet the underwhelming display will only increase the concern that Spurs are struggling to balance their Europa League commitments with their bid to finish in the top four.
However, Bentaleb insists Spurs are capable of winning the continental competition and taking advantage of the new rules this year by qualifying for the Champions League as winners.
“We have big chances in both competitions,” he said. “We have a large squad, we have the qualities to play well in this competition and I think we want to prove that.”
Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs