Hughes claims rough ref justice

Referee Mike Dean refused to explain his decision to award one of the most controversial goals of the season in Tottenham’s 2-1 win at Fulham.

Referee Dean allowed Tom Huddlestone’s 63rd-minute winner to stand at Craven Cottage on Saturday after assistant Martin Yerby had initially flagged William Gallas offside.

The call infuriated the Fulham fans and boss Mark Hughes, who sought a meeting with Dean after the match only to be told the official had already left the ground.

That was after the referee turned down an interview request from the media to allow him to clarify his position over the goal, which he awarded following protests from Spurs and a brief summit with Yerby.

Hughes had calmed down by the time he conducted his own post-match debrief almost an hour after his side’s Premier League defeat.

"The goal should have been wiped out because Gallas is in an offside position as the ball is struck by Huddlestone," Hughes said of the winner, which did take a slight deflection off Chris Baird but was struck by Huddlestone when Gallas was already in an offside position.

"The only grey area which I thought is whether it hit one of our players on the way through.

"Maybe then the argument is he’s played him on because he’s the last player to touch the ball.

"I think Mike Dean went over to the assistant linesman to ask whether Gallas had touched the ball.

"The assistant obviously said, ‘No he didn’t’."

But Hughes insisted Gallas’ very presence in front of goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer should have been enough for the goal to have been chalked off for interference.

He said: "Mark Schwarzer has to hold his position until the ball actually reaches where Gallas is, because he’s thinking at some point Gallas may stick a toe out and deflect it.

"To say he’s not interfering or not in his eyeline is completely at odds with the truth."

Hughes also suggested Dean had been prompted to challenge Yerby’s original decision by Huddlestone and his team-mates.

"I think Huddlestone went over," Hughes said.

"He was the first to get into Mike Dean’s face and obviously made a compelling argument."

Hughes confronted Dean after the final whistle and was told to visit the referee once they had left the field.

"I’d like a little bit of clarification," said Hughes before learning the official had already left the stadium.

"If he’s made a genuine mistake, he’ll admit to it, but it doesn’t do us any good so what’s the point?"

Tottenham boss Harry RedknappM.B<, who admitted Gallas was probably "a foot offside", called for a change back to the old offside laws.

"If you had a shot at goal and somebody was stood in an offside position, you were given offside," he said.

"It’s become very, very complicated.

"How many of us do know unless we’re referees or linesman?"

He added: "I’d be a liar if I was an expert on it."

The victory was Tottenham’s third after falling behind in their last four Premier League games.

"That’s the third time this year that we’ve gone behind and had to come back," enthused Redknapp, who saw Roman Pavlyuchenko cancel out Diomansy Kamara’s 30th-minute opener straight from the restart.

"We hit back at just the right time."

The win did come at a cost, however, with Redknapp’s "gamble" of playing Ledley King, and leaving him out of Wednesday’s Champions League game at Inter Milan, backfiring.

"My plan was to play him today and play him next Saturday against Everton," Redknapp said after watching his captain limp off a minute before half-time.

"Unfortunately, his groin has gone again."

Redknapp also decided to withdraw new signing Sandro at half-time of what was the midfielder’s full Premier League debut.

"He did well but he had a booking," the Spurs boss explained.

"Through his enthusiasm to play his first game today, I just thought he might just mistime a tackle and he’d get sent off."

Redknapp’s suggestion over the offside rule was later put to Hughes, who said: "Thanks for that Harry, but it doesn’t make me feel any better."