Paul Heckingbottom slams ‘appalling’ officiating as Sheffield United fall to late defeat against Tottenham

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Paul Heckingbottom hit out at what he viewed as “appalling” officiating in Sheffield United’s dramatic 2-1 defeat to Tottenham.

The Blades led in the eighth minute of stoppage-time in north London, seemingly on the verge of sealing their first Premier League win of the season.

However, Richarlison powered home a header from a corner, before the Brazilian set up Dejan Kulusevski to fire beyond Wes Foderingham in the 100th minute as Spurs sealed a remarkable comeback to extend their unbeaten start to the League campaign.

The fourth official provided a major boost to both the Spurs players and the home fans when his board revealed 12 minutes had been added on at the end of the second half, that figure due to a number of Sheffield United players requiring treatment and Foderingham taking his time over restarts. The Blades goalkeeper was already on a yellow card by that point, after handling the ball outside his area before the break.

Heckingbottom’s frustration was clear after the match, with the Sheffield United boss claiming that his side were hampered by having to change their style of play.

“Something needs to be done now,” Heckingbottom told Sky Sports.

“And this is not me moaning, I said it half-time and when we were 1-0 up as well. The focus is on timewasting so the referees are dictating how we play. We set up from the back, then Spurs push forward and then that dictates how we play. But no, we’re just told to play long. You can’t do it.

“Wes (Foderingham) got a yellow card for handling outside the box and then got threatened with a sending off (for timewasting) you can’t do it. The officiating is appalling, and it’s not about the football decisions, it’s just game management.

“My worry is all the focus is on yellow cards for time wasting and when I talked to the referees they haven’t got a clue what I’m talking about. They’re officiating the game, they simply do not know the game.”

Sheffield United’s miserable conclusion to the match continued when Ollie McBurnie was shown a second yellow card for dissent in the final seconds, having been booked for a trip earlier in the half.

Heckingbottom was unhappy with that sending off, as well as the decision to only show Micky van de Ven a yellow card when he collided with Foderingham shortly after the break.

“Then to sum it all up we get Ollie McBurnie sent off for telling the referee someone is pulling his shirt,” Heckingbottom said.

“We’ve just seen someone lead with an elbow into our goalkeeper who needs stitches and that’s the same offence. What’s going on, seriously what’s going on with our game?”