Bournemouth were denied a late winner when VAR ruled the ball struck Joshua King’s arm

Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe says his side are “still in the fight” to stay in the Premier League despite being denied a late winner in a goalless draw with Tottenham.

The Cherries thought they had snatched a significant victory in their bid to avoid relegation only for Callum Wilson’s overhead kick to be ruled out by the video assistant referee.

Howe said it felt like a “missed opportunity” after Wilson’s acrobatic stoppage-time effort struck Joshua King’s arm on the way into the Tottenham net.

“The important thing was we stopped the losing run, that was absolutely vital,” Howe told BBC Radio 5 Live after Bournemouth ended a run of five successive defeats.

The draw does, however, mean they remain in the drop zone, three points from a position of safety.

“It edges us a little bit closer to the teams above us. It gives us heart and confidence that we’re still in the fight,” added Howe. “We answered that question to the outside world that we’re still here.”

A point did little to further Spurs’ European ambitions, though the visitors felt they should have had a penalty for a push on forward Harry Kane.

Kane did not have a touch in the opposition box until the 78th minute as a lacklustre Spurs side failed to register a shot on target.

Bournemouth substitute Harry Wilson forced Hugo Lloris into a late save while King had earlier put the ball in the net from close range, but Stanislas was offside earlier in the move.

There was also concern for Cherries defender Adam Smith, who was carried off on a stretcher following lengthy treatment after suffering a head injury in a heavy collision with Ben Davies.

Erik Lamela glanced a header wide in Tottenham’s only real chance of note, with their early penalty appeal Jose Mourinho’s side’s best chance of breaking the deadlock.

Kane appeared to be shoved in the back by King from a corner but VAR looked at the incident and decided it was not a foul.

It leaves Tottenham ninth, one point behind north London rivals Arsenal, who they face on Sunday.

Can Cherries conjure escape act?

We dealt with Spurs very well – Howe

Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe says his love for the club is the driving factor behind his desire to extend their five-year stay in the top flight, having guided the Cherries from the fourth tier to the Premier League over two spells as manager.

After his side shipped nine goals in their previous two outings, the 42-year-old will take comfort in a clean sheet and a point against last year’s Champions League finalists.

But it could have been more for the hosts, had Callum Wilson’s effort not clipped team-mate King’s arm on its way into the net deep into stoppage time.

There was still time for namesake Harry to engineer a glorious chance to win it for Howe’s outfit, but the on-loan Liverpool winger fired straight at Tottenham goalkeeper Lloris.

“It looked like a good goal but when there’s a lull you’re fearing the worst and unfortunately it hit his arm,” said Howe.

“We looked a threat, albeit we had to defend well. The criticisms that were laid against us against Manchester United were put right tonight. We dealt with them very well.”

It means Bournemouth remain three points behind 17th-placed Watford with four games to play.

Howe’s passion has seen the Cherries scale previously unthinkable heights, but they realistically need to win two of their remaining fixtures – against Leicester, Manchester City, rivals Southampton and Everton – to stay in the top flight.

Spurs fail to trouble struggling hosts

The video assistant referee said King’s shove on Harry Kane did not warrant a penalty

Tottenham still have a Europa League spot to play for this season, though boss Mourinho’s focus will no doubt already be on the rebuild required for next term.

On the evidence of Thursday’s performance, he has a big job.

Spurs have invested in a new stadium, world-class infrastructure and a high-profile manager but look to be lacking on the pitch compared with their Champions League-chasing rivals.

Chairman Daniel Levy will not want to contemplate an extended absence from Europe’s elite competition and will be expecting Mourinho to rediscover some of the magic that saw him win three Premier League titles to make sure that does not happen.

Spurs were wasteful, lethargic and lacking in ideas in the opening 45 minutes, having just four touches in the opposition box with none of those coming for Kane, who was more involved in his own penalty area.

Powerful people do not like to be criticised – Mourinho

The club’s record signing, Tanguy Ndombele, had played just 19 minutes since being hauled off at half-time during Spurs’ 1-1 draw at Burnley in March but was thrown on at the break to try to inject some life into the visitors.

The introduction of the £55m midfielder, who has been linked with a move to Barcelona this summer, and forward Son Heung-min did lead to more urgency but Bournemouth were rarely troubled.

Mourinho could be happy with his team’s second successive clean sheet, achieved without suspended centre-back Eric Dier, but Spurs’ lack of attacking inventiveness will be worrying.

“I feel I got enough desire and they couldn’t give more today,” said the Portuguese. “We were dominant behind but then there was lack of sharpness in the attacking areas. I made changes, I think the changes helped to improve the game in the last half but we didn’t score.

“Credit to Bournemouth. I was a bit surprised because I thought they wanted to win the game and I was surprised they just wanted a point – but maybe they did their maths and I think a point gives them a chance.”

Man of the match – Nathan Ake (Bournemouth)

Bournemouth defender Nathan Ake did a god job of keeping Tottenham quiet – making five clearances and three blocks.

Everybody knows it’s a penalty – Mourinho

Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho, speaking to Sky Sports on the penalty incident: “The game has the most important moment and I don’t want to say any more in relation to that. Everybody knows. Everybody.

“The same referee who did the VAR decision against Sheffield United – Michael Oliver. Opinions matter. It’s not only mine, everybody knows that is a penalty and when I say everybody, I mean everybody. Everybody.

“I’m not saying Harry Kane 100% would score but his penalty range is high so usually we could win one nil against teams.”

Lerma fails to learn yellow card lesson – the stats

  • Bournemouth ended a five-game losing run in the Premier League while also keeping their first clean sheet in 17 matches in the competition.
  • Tottenham have kept back-to-back clean sheets in the Premier League for the first time since April 2019.
  • This was only their second clean sheet in 24 away league outings (also 0-0 v Watford in January).
  • Bournemouth have only won one of their 10 Premier League meetings with Tottenham (D2 L7), failing to score in six of those.
  • This was the first time Bournemouth have stopped their opponent from having an attempt on target in a Premier League match, in what is their 186th game.
  • It is the first time a side managed by Jose Mourinho failed to have a shot on target in a Premier League fixture since April 2007 during his first spell with former side Chelsea (against Newcastle).
  • Callum Wilson’s disallowed strike was the sixth time Tottenham have conceded a Premier League goal which has later been ruled out by VAR – only Brighton and Southampton (both seven) have had more.
  • Since his Premier League debut in September 2018, Bournemouth’s Jefferson Lerma has been shown 23 yellow cards in the division (12 last season, 11 this) – the most of any player in this time.

What’s next?

Bournemouth host Leicester City on Sunday (19:00 BST), while Tottenham welcome Arsenal in the north London derby earlier that day (16:30).



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