Ange Postecoglou admitted he can’t understand the search for a “utopia of no wrong decisions” after constant VAR interventions headlined Tottenham’s first Premier League defeat of the season to rivals Chelsea.
Spurs took an early lead against their bitter rivals through Dejan Kulusevski and would have been 2-0 up before the quarter of an hour mark had Son Heung-min’s effort not been ruled out for offside.
Moises Caicedo then had a superb left-footed strike ruled out for offside, minutes after Raheem Sterling had also had the ball in the back of the net, but Chelsea ultimately benefitted from VAR as Cristian Romero was penalised for a dangerous tackle on fellow Argentine Enzo Fernandez.
Romero was sent off for serious foul play and Chelsea were awarded a penalty, which Cole Palmer just squeezed past Guglielmo Vicario to level things up. But the entire decision making progress took a number of minutes and left players standing around waiting for the game to continue.
More carnage followed in the second half as Destiny Udogie was dismissed for a second bookable offence, and Chelsea ran out convincing 4-1 winners after eventually breaching Spurs’ unbelievably high defensive line.
Speaking after the game, Postecoglou stated that he’d been raised to respect the authority of referees and accept any decisions made, even though managers always look for ways to circumnavigate the rules.
The 58-year-old also criticised the “forensic scrutinising” of every incident in modern day football and said the search for a perfect world of refereeing was unrealistic.
“No, but I think it’s going to become the norm. It’s where the game’s heading,” Postecoglou said, asked if he’d ever been involved in a game as crazy. “Unfortunately it’s how we’re going to have to watch and participate in football from now on because…look I’ve said it before, I don’t like it. I don’t like the standing around. I don’t like the whole theatre around waiting for decisions.
“But I know that I’m in the wilderness with that. I’m on my own. In my 26 years I was always prepared to accept the referee’s decisions, good, bad or otherwise, and I’ve had some shockers in my career let me tell you. I’ve had some go my way as well but I cop that because I just want the game to be played.
“When we’re complaining about decisions every week this is what’s going to happen. If people are going to forensically scrutinise everything to make sure that they’re comfortable that it’s right and even at the end of that we’re still not happy. So what does that mean? It means that we’re going to see a lot of standing around.
“I just think it’s just diminishing the authority of the referee. You can’t tell me that referees are in control of the game because they’re not. The control is outside of that but that’s the way the game is going so you have to accept that and just try to deal with it.
“I don’t know but it seems like there isn’t a great call for us to go back to accepting the referee’s decisions for the majority of it. I understand goal-line technology because that’s a simple one. That came in and no one’s complained about it.
“But in searching for this utopia of no wrong decisions in a game, that doesn’t exist. It never will but that’s the road everyone wants to go down.
“It’s self-inflicted because we all complain about decisions every week. That’s not new. We’ve been complaining about decisions…I’ve been doing this for 26 years and I’ve heard managers, me included, complaining about decisions in the past, but we’ve got on with it. We didn’t feel the need to find some miracle cure for it.
“I don’t think that that’s a viable option because we’ve opened that door, allowed the technology. Now we want transparency. I guarantee the next thing is we’ll have referees mic’ed up and explaining decisions.
“There’s plenty of other sports where you can watch referees do that. I don’t think it’s better for football, but like I said I think I’m in the wilderness with that one.”
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