Jose Mourinho successfully complained to Uefa about the size of the goalposts before Tottenham’s Europa League play-off victory against Shkendija in North Macedonia.
Goals by Erik Lamela, Son Heung-min and Harry Kane earned Spurs a 3-1 victory, with boss Mourinho playing his own unique part before the match after keepers Joe Hart and Hugo Lloris pointed out the irregularity during the warm-up.
“Before the game was a funny situation because my goalkeepers told me that the goal was small,” explained Mourinho.
“I went by myself and of course the goal was small. The goalkeepers, they spend hours and hours and hours in the goal so they know when the goal is not the right dimension.
“I am not a goalkeeper but I know football since I was a kid and I know when I stand there and I spread my arms and I know the distance, so I felt immediately that something was going wrong.
“We got the Uefa delegate to confirm and yes it was 5cm smaller, which of course we demanded for the goals to be replaced for goals of the right dimension.”
There are no suggestions of foul play from Shkendija as the stadium in the North Macedonian capital Skopje is not their home ground.
Shkendija’s own stadium was not used as it does not meet Uefa requirements.
During the game, Son set up Argentine Lamela to calmly put Spurs ahead.
Hart, who was making his Spurs debut, was beaten by a stunning 20-yard finish by Valmir Nafiu.
But Son drilled in the second before teeing up substitute Kane to head the third.
It was a decent performance by Mourinho’s side, who meet Maccabi Haifa at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in the play-off round next Thursday.
Analysis: ‘I don’t think I have ever seen or heard of this before’
John Southall, BBC Radio 5 Live in Skopje
Mourinho came out on to the pitch, kind of stretched up and agreed with his keepers. He said the goals were too small and spoke to the Uefa delegate, who then came out presumably with his tape measure.
He measured the goals and they were both 5cm too small. They took both goals down, adjusted them and made them higher.
Mourinho put a picture on his Instagram stretching up trying to touch the crossbar. You can pretty much touch it. There’s one of Lloris there as well. It was all very bizarre.
The home side have said ‘it’s not our stadium, we didn’t know anything about this’. Both goals were too small and before kick-off they came on and took them down and made them bigger.
Vocal Hart makes himself heard
Hart had little to do on his first competitive outing since strengthening Tottenham’s goalkeeping options in the summer.
He was beaten by Shkendija’s one and only shot on target but Nafiu’s finish, early in the second half, was spectacular and there was little the 33-year-old could do about it.
Despite a quiet debut, Hart made his presence felt in the behind-closed-doors tie.
His voice boomed around the ground as the veteran of 75 England caps barked orders to his team-mates in front of him.
Hart has work to do if he is to displace Lloris as first choice.
But having arrived on a free after being released by Burnley, he could be a shrewd addition by Mourinho as Spurs chase a first major trophy since 2008.
- 4BejtulaiBooked at 39mins
- 19DitaSubstituted forZejnullaiat 77′minutes
- 23NafiuSubstituted forRamadaniat 85′minutes
- 14DorievSubstituted forMerdjaniat 85′minutes
- 34Es Sahhal
- 6D Sánchez
- 8WinksBooked at 36minsSubstituted forLo Celsoat 59′minutes
- 23BergwijnSubstituted forLucas Mouraat 66′minutes
- 20AlliSubstituted forKaneat 60′minutes
- 7Son Heung-Min
- 18Lo Celso
- 27Lucas Moura