Manchester City captain Kevin De Bruyne admitted that he ‘does not know the rules anymore’ after Aymeric Laporte saw an effort chalked off for handball during the 2-0 defeat to Tottenham.
City were flat footed throughout the contest, and were quickly on the back foot after Tanguy Ndombele’s sumptuous lobbed through ball was expertly slotted home by the in-form Son Heung-min.
Just before the half-hour mark, City thought they had levelled the contest after Laporte fired home from the edge of the penalty area after what appeared to be good work from Gabriel Jesus. But the goal was ruled out after Mike Dean, under advisement from VAR, decided the Brazilian had handled the ball in the build-up.
That prompted De Bruyne after the game to admit to Sky Sports that he doesn’t understand the current rules regarding handball, although he was under the impression that the ball had struck Jesus above the elbow.
“I don’t know the rules anymore, honestly,” De Bruyne said. “I thought if it was above the arm (top of sleeve) – it wasn’t handball. Everyone knows it hit him there, but honestly I don’t know the rules.
“But it will be analysed and referees will say it was a good decision. I’ve been playing professional football for 12 years and the first nine years there was no rule changes, the last three years there’s been a lot.
“I don’t know why. Football is such a nice game, but people making the rules should be people in the game.”
The Belgian, who admitted that preparation for the game had been limited to one training session because of international duty, added that City were missing their usual sharpness, though a constant stream of injuries had not helped their cause.
“I think we played well but missed that cutting edge,” he added. “We kept to Tottenham to three or four chances – that’s quite good – but if you’re not sharp enough in front of goal, it’s tough.
“It’s been up and down for us with the players coming in and going out. It’s hard for players coming back from injury to be sharp straight away.”
The Premier League lated clarified that Laporte’s effort had been ruled (via MEN) because the ball had struck Jesus’ elbow, falling in the ‘red zone’ of the arm which starts below the armpit.