HUGO LLORIS provided the moment of the match during Tottenham’s win over Everton with a surprising on-field rant at Son Heung-min.
Monday’s drab 1-0 victory for Jose Mourinho’s side was marred by the half-time feud that the Special One described as “beautiful”.
The bust-up came as the tension and pressure of the Premier League run-in boiled over.
Speaking after the game, Tottenham captain Lloris described the incident as a typical one for any dressing room – even if they do not usually spill over onto the pitch.
And he said that Son’s failure to continue pressing his opponents to try and win the ball at the end of the first-half was the trigger for his amazing outburst.
Lloris said: “What happened between me and Sonny is part of football sometimes. There’s no problem at all.
“To concede a chance a few seconds before half-time because we don’t make the press properly… That annoyed me.
“But it’s part of football – it’s no problem. We move on.”
Few expected Mourinho to have found the moment “beautiful” in the way that he did.
But when the coach discussed the incident, he said he loved it and accepted full responsibility.
According to Mourinho, the previous week’s 3-1 defeat to Sheffield United played a big role with Tottenham players agreeing not to accept a “passive attitude” – like the one Lloris felt Son had showed.
The Spurs boss said: “It’s beautiful. It’s probably as a consequence of our meetings.
“Probably if you want to blame somebody for that it’s me.
“A team of good boys, a team of nice boys, the only thing they can win is the fair play cup – which is something that I have never won and am not interested in winning.
“We need to have a certain character, to grow up in your responsibility and consistency.
“We spoke a lot after the Sheffield game and one of the things we spoke about was to be open and demanding with each other to not accept a passive attitude.
“I was critical of my boys because in my opinion, they are not critical enough with themselves and with each other.
“I asked them to be more demanding, to demand more from others, to put their colleagues under that pressure of team spirit that you have to give for everybody.”
Sky’s TV pundits analysed the clash and agreed with Lloris that the Korean forward had let his runner go.
Yerry Mina carried the ball out of the Everton half and was allowed to pick out Richarlison, who almost brought the scores level with a dangerous strike that flashed past the post.
Ben Davies and Serge Aurier were both seen with their arms outstretched following the attack, suggesting their similar dismay over how it came about.
Former Spurs midfielder Jamie Redknapp said in the studio at half-time: “[Son] gives up, he absolutely gives up on it.
“There’s a reaction as Lloris then shouts at Son – this is probably the most exciting thing that’s happened in the first half.
It’s harsh. It happened on the halfway line. It was so far from Lloris and I don’t think Lloris has a case really.”
“But that actually might be a consequence of what happened in the Sheffield United game when he didn’t make a challenge.”
Fellow pundit Tim Cahill added: “In my opinion, I like this because he’s the captain and demanding respect and accountability to close players down and do your job because against Sheffield United they didn’t do it.”
However, Tottenham favourite Glenn Hoddle defended Son.
Talking on Premier League Productions, the former England and Spurs boss said: “I think it stems from the Sheffield United game.
“They’ve all had a chat about the attitude and I think Lloris is saying there: ‘You can’t show that sort of attitude’.
“But for me it’s harsh. We’ve had a look at this, it happened on the halfway line.
“It was so far from Lloris and I don’t think Lloris has a case really.
“I think the ball was too far from Son. Maybe from Lloris’ position it looks like Son has just given up but for me it was just a poor ball.”
“A little cuddle, all friends again in the Spurs team.” 🤗
Hugo Lloris and Son Heung-min appear to have made up during the interval. 👀 pic.twitter.com/sX4YU2tjBm
Harry Winks and Giovani Lo Celso were the first on the scene to break up the row.
Footage of the players exiting the dressing room for the second-half showed Lloris and Son sharing a quick hug with the matter seemingly dealt with during the break.
The boring game was decided when Argentine midfielder Lo Celso’s 24th minute shot deflected in off Michael Keane for the only goal of the game.
Spurs nudged up to eighth in the table, seven points behind Manchester United in fifth, and now face Bournemouth and Arsenal later this week.
And Mourinho summarised the episode as a short blip in relations that he feels will contribute to a stronger attitude in the long run.
He continued: “It was a situation at the end of the first half where an amazing kid that everybody loves like Sonny, a team boy, but in that situation the captain thought in the last minute of the first half you have to do more for the team and give us a different effort to what you gave.
“It’s something very important for the team to grow up. Because as a team to grow up you need to demand from each other and have strong personalities. I was really pleased.
“By the time I arrived in the dressing room everything was over and they were hugging each other.
“I just wanted the players to understand that I was very happy with that. When I told them that, they realised nothing was wrong.”