Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino saw his selection crisis hit a new low ahead of the final weekend of the Premier League season after watching Son Heung-min and Juan Foyth receive red cards within five minutes of each other during the 1-0 upset at Bournemouth.
Spurs went into their penultimate Premier League fixture knowing that victory would secure a top-three finish and their place in next season’s Champions League, dismissing the mid-season fears that the club could slip out of the top four altogether.
But a determined Bournemouth side showed that they were up for the fight at the Vitality Stadium even though their season has nothing left to play for, having secured Premier League safety and sitting firmly in mid-table away with the top half and bottom three out of reach.
Yet while all Spurs needed was the three points, they struggled to break Bournemouth down and that frustration appeared to get the better of them.
Pochettino could only watch on as forward Son lost his head and reacted furiously against Bournemouth midfielder Jefferson Lerma, shoving the Colombian to the turn and appearing to slightly kick-out at him in the process.
The entire incident occurred right in front of Craig Pawson, and the referee immediately showed the South Korea international a red card to reduce Spurs to 10 men with two minutes remaining in the first half.
The unusual anger shown by Son resulted in the first red card of his career since moving to Europe, having never been sent-off in 265 matches combined for Hamburg, Bayer Leverkusen and Spurs across all competitions, and to make matters worse he took the unwanted record of becoming the first South Korean to receive his marching orders in the Premier League.
Watch the video below…
Pochettino responded to the dismissal by making two substitutions at half-time, sending on Victor Wanyama and Foyth for Eric Dier and Toby Alderweireld – who along with Moussa Sissoko had both been booked in the first half.
But the manager’s decision immediately backfired when Foyth got himself sent-off within three minutes of the restart.
Having mis-controlled the ball, Foyth lunged into a challenge against Bournemouth defender Jack Simpson with a reckless tackle that made contact with his knee, and again Pawson was on top of the scene to issue a straight red card.
There was plenty of shock among Foyth and his Tottenham teammates, with Pochettino seen shaking his head on the sidelines at the decision. But replays immediately showed that Foyth was out of control with his studs raised at a dangerous height, leaving the Argentine defender little to argue.
Watch the video below…
Pochettino must have thought it could not get any worse for his side, only to look on helplessly as former Chelsea defender Nathan Ake headed home a corner in the 91st minute to secure victory for Bournemouth and give his former side a chance of finishing the season in third if they can win their final two games of the season.
Should both fail with any possible appeal – and the circumstances surrounding the incidents are unlikely to see the decisions overturned – both will be suspended for Spurs’ final game of the season against Everton at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium next weekend, as well as the first two matches of the 2019/20 Premier League season.
However, both will be available for the Champions League semi-final against Ajax as the bans only apply to domestic competition.