BOSS Eddie Howe described as a “very soft call” referee Mike Dean’s controversial decision to rule out an effort from Callum Wilson during Cherries’ 4-1 defeat by Tottenham today.

Cherries raced into a seventh-minute lead thanks to Junior Stanislas’s finely-taken strike before Spurs hit back to forge ahead through goals from Dele Alli and Son Heung-Min either side of half-time.

The hosts were convinced striker Wilson had restored parity midway through the second half when he netted from close range following a towering header from Steve Cook.

However, referee Dean immediately signalled for a foul, with replays showing the faintest of touches by Wilson on Tottenham defender Davinson Sanchez.

Son’s second and a late fourth from Serge Aurier certainly gave the scoreline a flattering look, a point not lost on Howe.

He said: “We started the game very strongly. It was a quick game and physically very intense for both sets of players.

“We gave everything but, ultimately, they were too good for us. But the scoreline was definitely an untrue reflection of how the game went. We were well in it right until the end.

“I thought it was a very soft call from the referee. If there was any contact, it was minimal and, at 2-1 down, it had a huge bearing on the result.”

Asked by the Daily Echo for his view of the incident, Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino replied: “It was so difficult for me to see from my position.

“You need to trust in the referee. Sometimes it is for you, sometimes it is against you. In football, you always need some luck.

“Sometimes decisions help you win, sometimes they don’t help you achieve what you want but it is part of football.”

Asked by the Daily Echo whether he felt Cherries would have deserved a share of the spoils, Howe said: “I would have felt so just for the endeavour from my players. I felt they gave absolutely everything, they left it all on the pitch and that’s all you can ask.

“They (Tottenham) may have a different view but, for a large part of the first half, I felt we gave them real problems with the pace of our front two and the physicality of the team.

“They have quality and are going to give you problems and defensively we were stretched at times. But at 2-1, we were well in the game.

“We just didn’t manage the last part of the game very well, the last 10 minutes where we became a little too stretched and they exposed us.

“We had to make sure we started well and I felt a fast start was the only way we were going to win. We needed to try to get a lead and build on it. We got the lead, couldn’t build on it and they came back and showed their quality.

“For me, they are one of the best teams in Europe so the fact we stretched them and took them so far I think is a compliment to my team.”