Tottenham penalty an 'absolute joke', says Bruce

The Hull City boss was left livid after Roberto Soldado converted a late spot-kick that he felt Michael Oliver wrongly awarded, suggesting he would be sacked if he made such errors
Steve Bruce has labelled referee Michael Oliver's awarding of a penalty to Tottenham "an absolute joke" after Hull City lost at White Hart Lane on Sunday.

An injury-hit Hull side looked set to secure a hard-earned point in London until Oliver adjudged Ahmed Elmohamady to have deliberately handled Jan Vertonghen's cross 12 minutes from time.

But boss Bruce was left fuming with the manner in which they were consigned to a 1-0 defeat after Roberto Soldado scored the resulting spot-kick.

"It is an absolute joke decision," he fumed to reporters after the game. "It hits his leg for a start and then goes up and hits his arm. How do you give a penalty in that situation?

"We have more directives and meetings and all this nonsense; they are all getting assessed up in the stands but then they give decisions like that which just baffles me and I have to ask the question, would we have got it?

"The disappointment I have is that I have lads playing today who are desperate to play in the Premier League.

"They are desperate to make a fist of it and they are now questioning themselves after Everton last week, where we got some decisions against us, and today where, in my opinion, he [Oliver] couldn't wait to give it."

Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas admitted the decision was harsh on Hull and Bruce revealed he sought an explanation from referee Oliver after the game.

When asked if he had spoken to the official, the former Sunderland boss replied: "After the game, but what difference does it make?

"It is the same old thing. He's ballsed it up. If my player made a decision like that I wouldn't be playing him next week and if I kept making decisions like that I would get the sack.

"He [Villas-Boas] absolutely, totally agreed. He is going to go and see it and know it is a soft one and in my opinion it is not right, not for the stakes we are playing for - a big game at White Hart Lane and he has robbed the players of a well-earned point.

"We could get relegated by a point. You never know, it is too early yet, but it is what it is."