Thursday 21 November 2019

Son earns red card reprieve as Tottenham eye knock-out stages

Son: Successful appeal. Photo: Andrew Boyers/Action Images via Reuters
Son: Successful appeal. Photo: Andrew Boyers/Action Images via Reuters

John Percy

Mauricio Pochettino has insisted he was "always confident" that Son Heung-min's red card would be overturned, after the distraught Tottenham Hotspur forward avoided a three-match ban.

Son was sent off at Everton on Sunday after the tackle which led to Andre Gomes suffering a broken ankle, but the Football Association upheld Spurs' claim of wrongful dismissal yesterday after review.

The South Korean was inconsolable after witnessing Gomes in agony, and Spurs have offered him counselling to deal with the aftermath of the shocking accident. Son is determined to move on from his trauma after flying out to Belgrade for Spurs' fourth Champions League game, with manager Pochettino admitting he was "devastated" by the fallout.

"Sonny is OK and it is good for everyone that it was overturned, but most importantly it is fair," he said.

"It is good that the FA has decided this. It's good for him and good for the team. I was always confident.

"All the players from Tottenham and staff feel sorry for Andre Gomes and what happened, and we are so happy at the news his surgery went well.

"Sonny was devastated after Sunday, but he is on good form now. "After a few days, he is in a very good way."

Harry Kane has also flown to the Serbian capital after missing the draw at Everton with illness, revealing he had given Son "a hug" on his return to training on Monday.

Kane and the Spurs squad are preparing for a hostile atmosphere at the Rajko Mitic Stadium, as Liverpool discovered in a 2-0 defeat on the same day last year.

Spurs have made a mediocre start to the campaign, but Kane insists Spurs cannot be written off after reaching last season's final.

"You look at where we started in the group stage last year and where we got to, we proved a lot of people wrong," he said.

"We didn't start this campaign great, either, but we got the win against Red Star and I think we're in a better position than last season.

"If we win, we'd be in a great spot to qualify and then in the knockout stages, as you saw last year, it can go anyone's way so that's what we've got to take."

Though Kane has returned, Hugo Lloris, Jan Vertonghen and Erik Lamela remain at home with injuries.

Spurs are one point above the Serbian Superliga leaders in Group B, after thrashing them 5-0 in the first leg.

Irish Independent

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