EPL

Ange Postecoglou laments VAR’s impact after Chelsea defeat

By Sports Desk November 06, 2023

Ange Postecoglou lamented that VAR has diminished the authority of referees after he watched nine-man Tottenham lose for the first time in the Premier League against Chelsea.

It was a frenetic meeting between the two rivals that saw five disallowed goals, two red cards, a penalty and two Spurs players forced off during the first half with injury, as Mauricio Pochettino marked his return to north London with a memorable 4-1 victory.

But the match was dominated by VAR’s involvement with the red cards two of nine decisions referred to the video referee.

Even with nine men the hosts continued to take the game to Chelsea and were well in the contest before Nicolas Jackson twice sprung their high line in stoppage time to add his team’s third and fourth goals and complete an unlikely hat-trick.

Postecoglou’s team had been comfortably on top in the first half before Cristian Romero’s red card in the 33rd minute, dismissed for a dangerous challenge on Enzo Fernandez and conceding the penalty from which Cole Palmer equalised Dejan Kulusevski’s deflected goal.

Destiny Udogie was also dismissed on 55 minutes, receiving a second yellow card for a foul on Raheem Sterling, but it took a further 20 minutes before Chelsea finally took the lead for the first time through Jackson.

Spurs’ night was compounded by the loss of James Maddison and Micky van de Ven to injury on top of what is likely to be a three-game ban for Romero.

But it was VAR’s impact that dominated Postecoglou’s thoughts after the game after a total of 21 minutes were added on at the end of each half.

“It’s hard to analyse from a football perspective,” he said.

“We’re left with a result which is disappointing, but super proud of the players’ efforts and will and desire to get something from the game.

“(Lengthy VAR pauses) are going to become the norm, I think it’s where the game is heading. Unfortunately it’s how we’re going to have to watch and participate in football from now on.

“I don’t like it. I don’t like the standing around, the whole theatre around waiting for decisions. But I know I’m in the wilderness on that.

“In my 26 years, I was always prepared to accept the referee’s decision, good, bad or otherwise, and I’ve had some shockers in my career. I’ve had some go my way as well.

“I’ll cop that because I just want the game to be played. But when we’re complaining about defections every week, this is what’s going to happen.

“People are going to forensically scrutinise everything to make sure they’re comfortable it’s right, and even at the end of that, we’re still not happy.

“It’s just diminishing the authority of the referee. You can’t tell me referees are in control of games. They’re not. Control is outside of that, but that’s where the game’s going. You have to accept it and try and deal with it.”

Pochettino reflected on a game in which, despite a host of contentious decisions, he felt his team were deserved victors.

“I think we deserved to win,” he said.

“We forced them to make too many mistakes. Tottenham were better in the first 15 minutes but then we matched the game. Our performance was good.

“Everything you can see during the game I think was fair. We compare to the Tottenham Liverpool game, a similar game like today. Liverpool complained. But today, everything that happened was fair. That’s why I think 4-1, the performance was good.”

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