Football

Watford boss Quique Sanchez Flores losing faith in ‘subjective’ VAR

Technology's firm apologises for gaffe during Spurs' 1-1 draw with Watford

Watford manager Quique Sanchez Flores said he is losing faith in VAR as a force for good in the game after two crucial decisions went against his side in Saturday's 1-1 draw at Tottenham Hotspur, leaving them still winless this season.

The visitors got off to a flying start when Abdoulaye Doucoure scored in the sixth minute and they could have been awarded a penalty when Gerard Deulofeu was tripped by Jan Vertonghen.

Dele Alli denied Watford a first win in nine games with a late strike that was initially ruled out for handball then awarded after a VAR review, even though Harry Kane appeared to push defender Christian Kabasele in the build-up.

The moment was also shrouded in confusion when the screens at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium at first said "No Goal", before correcting itself to show the goal had been awarded.

"I was thinking VAR is something objective, but I'm starting to think it's very subjective," said Sanchez Flores.

"It's a foul from Kane on Kabasele, he pushed him with his hands. We are losing something. It's very weird, you think VAR is helping football but then it's not."

Hawk-Eye Innovations, the company which provides the VAR technology, promised to work with officials and the English Premier League to avoid more problems.

"Hawk-Eye apologises to Spurs and Watford fans for the confusion caused," it said in a statement on Twitter.

"We are working together with the Professional Game Match Officials Board and the Premier League to understand the root cause of this problem and propose a series of measures to ensure it won't happen again."

Sanchez Flores was also asked about Deulofeu's appeal for a penalty.

"It's a penalty, I have no idea (why it wasn't given)," he said.

Sky Sports pundit Alan Shearer agreed that Vertonghen should have been penalised, saying: "He takes two or three swipes at Deulofeu. That should be a definite penalty. After nine weeks in the Premier League, we all want VAR to work but it's not being used correctly.

REFEREE REVIEW AREA

"I cannot understand why on earth they (the referees) refuse to go to the referee review area.

"What is the point of having pitchside monitors if the referees are never going to use them?

"We have not seen a referee go to a pitchside monitor once all season in any game."

There was more VAR controversy elsewhere. At the King Power Stadium, where Leicester City defeated Burnley 2-1, Clarets striker Chris Wood was denied a second goal when he was adjudged to have fouled Jonny Evans in the build-up, a decision that left Burnley manager Sean Dyche furious.

"I'm a big fan of VAR but it has to be used more wisely than that," he said.

"Their defender is never going to get that in a million years. There was a touch, but there is no intention in the touch and his gait doesn't change."

Former England captain and Sky Sports host Gary Lineker tweeted: "VAR really doesn't like goals. Thought it would mean more goals with penalties being given, but thus far that has not proved to be the case. Seems to be a concerted effort to find something to rule out goals. Really strange."

At the Molineux, Raul Jimenez put the ball into the back of the net three times before having a goal count after two first-half efforts were disallowed.

His persistence eventually paid off as Wolves cancelled out Danny Ings' opener for Southampton in a 1-1 draw.

Asked about the VAR, Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo said: "It is what it is. I hope it gets better." - REUTERS

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