EPL

Potter sarcastically praises Soucek 'save': 'I didn't know he could get down that easily!'

By Sports Desk February 11, 2023

Chelsea head coach Graham Potter sarcastically commended West Ham's Tomas Soucek for a "good save" that mystifyingly did not lead to a penalty in Saturday's 1-1 draw.

Former Chelsea defender Emerson Palmieri cancelled out Joao Felix's opener at London Stadium before the VAR took centre stage.

First, the technology came to Chelsea's rescue in the 82nd minute as Soucek tapped in a rebound, the goal disallowed due to Declan Rice being offside with the initial headed effort.

Then, Chelsea were convinced they were due a penalty as Soucek blocked Conor Gallagher's effort with his hand in the area.

According to reports, PGMOL – the body responsible for match officials in English football – has since said the decision was correct because it perceives Soucek's arm to have been outstretched to break his fall.

The incident did not go to a VAR review as referee Craig Pawson's decision was deemed satisfactory, and although Potter was initially surprisingly calm about the controversy, he could not resist a pop or two in his post-match press conference.

"I thought it was a good save so you need your goalkeeper sometimes to get you the points," he told reporters.

"It hasn't been given so there's nothing for me to say. I've only seen it briefly as I walked across. It looks like one of those where if it was given, I don't think it would be overturned but it hasn't been given, so I don't know."

He added: "It looked quite a handball to me. I didn't know Tomas could get down that easily and save like that. It's a good stop from him. It's not for me to say about VAR."

Potter was then asked if he just wanted more consistency with such decisions, but the Chelsea boss was sceptical about that even being possible.

"You won't [get consistency] because they're human beings," he said of the VAR officials.

"A different human being in the room and every single decision and action, you won't get the same one again, so it's very hard to get consistency.

"Sometimes they go for you, sometimes they don't. You just have to accept that."

The draw leaves Chelsea ninth in the Premier League.

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