Tottenham head coach Ange Postecoglou felt goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicario deserved more protection from referee Michael Oliver after Everton earned a last-gasp 2-2 draw.
The Italian, having endured a similar problem in their FA Cup exit to Manchester City last week, failed to deal with Dwight McNeil’s inswinging corner under his own crossbar which allowed Jack Harrison to equalise to initially make it 1-1.
And while the Spurs boss was reluctant to criticise the officials, he felt there could have been more intervention as Spurs missed the chance to move level on points with second-placed City.
“It just seems to be in general referees are reluctant to call these now and leave to VAR,” said Postecoglou on the first goal.
“At the moment any contact in the box referees seem reluctant to call.
“It is disappointing to concede any goal. There were about 30 set-pieces. It is stuff you have to deal with.
“It is obviously a difficult place to come and play and dominate and for the most part I thought we handled it OK.
“We started the game really well, lost a bit of our composure, the second half was OK and we created some good chances and probably needed a third to kill the game off.
“In the last 10 minutes it is almost inevitable you will be put under pressure here. We have to take it on the chin and move on.”
Everton manager Sean Dyche denied they had deliberately targeted Vicario.
“No, not necessarily. We want to be competitive on set-pieces all over the pitch. Delivery is massively important as is the intent and desire to score a goal,” he said.
“That is a large part of what we drill into the players. We do look a threat. There is no story there, it is just what we work on.
“Some weeks you give more time on (working on) the opposition but it is mostly what we work on.”
Jarrad Branthwaite’s first goal of the season deep into added time snatched a morale-boosting draw, with ex-Toffee Richarlison having scored twice for Spurs.
“Very pleased from top to bottom,” was Dyche’s assessment of the performance.
“The commitment is evident and some of the quality. They (Tottenham) started well and scored a very good goal from their point of view and then we went on the front foot and took the game on and played very well.
“At half-time I just said to the players ‘that is a very good half so we have to keep that going’. We kept our levels extremely high and deserved at least an equaliser, if not to take all three points.”