Football

‘I’ll get called out for this’ – Postecoglou defends Vicario and believes there is less protection for goalkeepers

Tottenham manager Ange Postecoglou

Ange Postecoglou believes goalkeepers no longer receive the protection they did in the past and defended shot-stopper Guglielmo Vicario after criticism of his set-piece defending of late.

The Italian goalkeeper conceded similar goals against both Manchester City and Everton, which resulted from him failing to clear the ball when under pressure from an opposition a corner kick.

But Spurs boss Postecoglou backed the 27-year-old and says the club have sought clarification over the rules around pressure on goalkeepers.

“I’m going to get called out for this but there was a thing that was quite evident in the game, that the goalkeeper was a protected species.

“I don’t think that’s just me making it up. If you really impeded a goalkeeper in the six-yard box, you’re going to get a foul. I knew that as a player and I’ve known that as a manager.

“There seems to be a shift there now. Somebody will say to me that the rules haven’t changed but I think there’s been a shift there.

“To me, it’s obstruction when you stand in front of a goalkeeper and you’re stopping him before the ball has even arrived.

“Someone will tell me that’s not a law either, it wouldn’t surprise me, but again it’s something that I thought was part of the game.

“In general play, I’ve seen our guys get blocked trying to close people down. I find it bizarre that’s it not being pulled up anymore.

“With the goalkeepers, what’s that going to do now? Well, it’s pretty much open to how you can surround the goalkeeper and crowd him and put balls on top of him, and you’ve just got to wait for the scramble to finish and see what happens.

“I was really proud of Vicario the other day. I think they had nine corners and after we conceded he dealt with just about every other one, coming out and actually having a crack at it, rather than standing on his line because he didn’t want to get exposed.

“I can’t praise him highly enough for the way he’s handled it. The whole thing where people say they’ve got to be stronger, what does that mean? If he pushes or does anything to a player with VAR, you’ve got no chance. You’re going to get a penalty against you.

“We’re telling our players now to just be careful in the box. They’re looking for everything with VAR, you’re not going to get away with a little shirt pull or little push, so how are goalkeepers supposed to be stronger exactly in that sense? When you’ve got someone standing next to you obstructing you from doing your job, that’s my point.

“If there’s contact before the ball arrives, I thought that was obstruction. Now like I said, I’ll get called out for this. I’m probably behind the times and maybe there’s been a rule change, but there’s definitely been a shift as I see it.

“We’ve had at least two goals, maybe three, that in the past would have been called for fouls on the goalkeeper that aren’t being called now. And it’s not just in our games, I’ve seen it in other games too.”

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