Antonio Conte: VAR made big mistake

Antonio Conte wasn’t happy with the Video Assistant Referee’s performance during last night’s game between Chelsea and Norwich at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea, who had Pedro and Morata sent off, eventually beat Norwich after a penalty shootout and advanced to the Fourth Round of the FA Cup. Conte believes his side should have had a penalty when Willian went to ground in extra-time.

He said:

If we want to use a new system, I can’t accept a big mistake. In this case, the Willian penalty was a big, big mistake. Not from the referee on the pitch, who took quickly a decision to book Willian and didn’t have any doubt, but from the person watching the game [Jones]. I hope the VAR wasn’t a referee because if you see that watching on television and don’t think that’s a penalty … he has to improve. It was very clear.

At least to avoid a big mistake, [the VAR has] to call the referee and tell him: ‘Look, maybe this situation there is a doubt. For me it’s no penalty, but it’s better you go and watch it, and then take the final decision.’ We need to improve if we want to use this new system. We have to wait to check with the person who is watching the game and then, if this person is sure 100% that it is simulation, go and book Willian.

Pedro and Morata were sent off, and they both received one of their yellow cards for diving. Pedro was booked for a dive, and then he received his second yellow for a foul on Wes Hoolahan. Morata was booked for diving, and then was sent off for dissent while complaining about the original decision.

Conte said:

About Pedro, if there is a dive it’s right to take a yellow card. It’s the same for Morata. I don’t want an advantage, especially if you know this system is being used. You can watch every situation with this situation. If someone gives a punch or an elbow, you must pay great attention. In this case, if it wasn’t a penalty, it was right to give a yellow card.

For sure, I’m not happy for the second yellow card for Morata. The first yellow card was for a doubtful situation – I didn’t watch Morata’s situation yet – but the second was for dissent. You must pay great attention. In this moment of the game you have to pay great attention to stay calm and make the best decision.

I have seen the Willian incident, and there was definitely a touch on him in the box, but I don’t think there was enough in it to bring him down. He looked like he almost forced himself onto the ground in my opinion. I’m not convinced that it should have been a penalty at all, but Conte wanted the referee to at least review the incident at the side of the pitch.

Chelsea will now be without Pedro and Morata for Sunday’s trip to Brighton in the Premier League.

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