Harry Kane denied that he had dived in an attempt to win a last-minute penalty in Tottenham Hotspur’s breathless 2-2 draw with Arsenal.
The England captain went to ground in the final moments of the match after a challenge from Arsenal defender Sokratis in the penalty area.
Kane appeared to throw himself into Sokratis but insisted afterwards that it was a “50-50” decision for referee Martin Atkinson.
“The defender made a tired tackle,” Kane said. “On halfway [line] I think I would get that foul. The ref probably thinks I am looking for it.
“It is 50-50, I could get it in some games. In the box you don’t always get them. He’s come through the back of me.”
The attempt to win a penalty brought a controversial end to a match which Kane felt was ultimately disappointing for Tottenham, who surrendered a two-goal lead.
“We expect to see the game out,” Kane said. “It is a shame we could not kill it off. But it is the Premier League and if you don’t kill teams off they come back at you.”
Mauricio Pochettino, the Tottenham manager, said the point — and the closure of the European transfer window on Monday — will draw a line under a turbulent summer at the club.
Pochettino has been complaining for much of the season about the lack of unity in the Tottenham squad as a result of the doubts over the futures of players like Christian Eriksen, who is in the final year of his contract.
The Dane, who scored the opening goal at the Emirates, had hoped to leave this summer but now looks almost certain to stay in north London after interest from Europe’s biggest clubs failed to materialise.
“The team wasn’t settled and I told you from day one when we started the pre-season in London and then we moved to Singapore that I wasn’t happy,” said Pochettino.
“I was a little bit worried about the situation because we knew very well what was going on. But now I am optimistic, happy. I think the most important thing is to be all on the same page, with the club – that the players have a clear idea of where we want to arrive and how we need to move.
“[We need] clear minds, like today Christian and different players. Tomorrow, they are going to be only focused 100 per cent on Tottenham, not thinking about different things that make management so difficult.”
Asked if he believes Eriksen is now certain to stay at the club beyond Monday’s European deadline, Pochettino added: “No, there are still hours – one day. I don’t want to say it is impossible but it is going to be difficult. I think nothing is impossible in football. I am optimistic. The most important is that it’s only 24 hours. I hope that everything will be clear for everyone.”
Meanwhile, Unai Emery defended Arsenal captain Granit Xhaka after the midfielder conceded a first-half penalty with a clumsy challenge on Tottenham forward Son Heung-Min.
“In 90 minutes I am very proud of his work,” said Emery. “Some mistakes we can have and I want to use [them] to progress and improve. There are more positive things collectively, individually and also with Xhaka.
“The penalty is really one action that is very disappointing. He worked very well. He played very well. If we won the match maybe we would speak about the mistakes less. Really there were two mistakes in the first half and they scored two goals.”