Jose Mourinho said he was "rude to an idiot" to earn a "fair" yellow card in Tottenham's 1-0 defeat to Southampton on Wednesday.
The Spurs head coach was booked by referee Mike Dean after approaching the Southampton bench and leaning towards a home coach as he appeared to be making tactical notes.
Mourinho acknowledged he was right to be reprimanded but showed little remorse, hinting at an issue with the Saints coaching staff.
"I think the yellow card was fair, because I was rude," the Portuguese told a news conference. "But I was rude to an idiot.
"For some reason, I was rude. But I was. And because I was rude, I deserved the yellow card."
However, when it was put to Mourinho that he seemed to be reading his rivals' notes, he replied indignantly: "What? I don't know what to say."
Tottenham had a Harry Kane goal ruled out for offside following a VAR review and, although Mourinho admitted to not having seen a replay, the coach is unhappy with the current use of technology.
Spurs had benefited from a tight call when Norwich City striker Teemu Pukki was deemed offside as he netted in their match on Saturday.
"I think, at this moment, the referees are not the referees," he said. "I think VAR should change its name.
"Video assistant referee? That's not true. It should be VR - video referee - because they are the referees. It's strange. You see the referees on the pitch, and they're not the referees - they're the assistant referees.
"The other guys in the office are the ones that make the big decisions of the game."
He added: "This is going in a very bad direction - sometimes in our favour, like it was in Norwich, sometimes against us.
"But the direction is really, really wrong. I think the first step should be to change the name, VAR to VR - video referee. That's the way it is."