Monday, May 27, 2024

Pochettino says VAR ´damaging´ English football as Chelsea denied Villa win

SoccerNews in Editorial, English Premier League 28 Apr 2024

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Mauricio Pochettino claimed VAR is “damaging” English football after Chelsea saw a potential winning goal chalked off at the end of their 2-2 Premier League draw with Aston Villa.

Despite a bright performance, Chelsea found themselves 2-0 down at half-time on Saturday with Marc Cucurella putting through his own net before Morgan Rogers added Villa’s second.

Goals from Noni Madueke and Conor Gallagher dragged Chelsea level as they penned Villa back after the break, but the Blues were enraged in stoppage time when Axel Disasi saw a potential winner ruled out.

Disasi headed home in the fifth minute of stoppage time to spark wild celebrations among the visiting Chelsea fans, only for referee Craig Pawson to disallow the goal following a pitchside VAR review, ruling Benoit Badiashile pushed Diego Carlos in the build-up.

With that incident coming just one week after Chelsea were denied a penalty in their FA Cup semi-final loss to Manchester City despite Jack Grealish appearing to handle Cole Palmer’s free-kick, Pochettino has had enough.

“Everyone that was watching the game will feel disappointed. The referee said it was a foul and disallowed the goal after going to the VAR to confirm,” he told TNT Sports.

“The referee is unbelievable and it’s ridiculous. It is difficult to accept these types of things. In the semi-final it was handball and it was no penalty, the referee didn’t check it.

“It is painful as it has damaged English football and I think Villa players and their fans didn’t understand why the goal was disallowed.

“They said it was a foul and if you see the challenge… if we go into every single challenge like this and it is going to be a foul, we wouldn’t finish the game with 11 players.

“We can talk about the performance or the decision – it is damaging the game.”

Pochettino had no complaints about Chelsea’s performance, though, as they avoided defeat for just the fourth time in 51 Premier League games when trailing by two or more goals at half-time.

The Blues previously achieved that feat in a 3-3 draw with Sheffield Wednesday in 1992, a memorable 2-2 draw with Tottenham in 2016 and another 3-3 draw with West Brom in 2020.

Chelsea racked up 21 shots to Villa’s nine and put up 1.57 expected goals (xG) to the hosts’ 1.1, with Nicolas Jackson and Palmer spurning glorious chances in either half.

“The performance was very good,” Pochettino said. “We played really well and it is true in the first half we conceded too easily.

“To play Villa, who are fighting for the top four, I am pleased with the team. Now, we have to move on and the headlines will be about the disallowed goal.”

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