Pochettino: VAR has damaged image of English football


Mauricio Pochettino has claimed the use of VAR by match officials is “damaging the image of English football” after Chelsea were denied an incredible comeback at Aston Villa.

Mauricio Pochettino’s men looked to be ending a horror week in style when Axel Disasi’s header in the fourth minute of time added on crashed in off the crossbar to overturn a 2-0 deficit.

But Benoit Badiashile was ruled to have fouled Diego Carlos in the build-up and the goal was ruled out meaning the visitors had to settle for a point.

Referee Craig Pawson consults his pitchside monitor
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Referee Craig Pawson consults his pitchside monitor

Chelsea players fume at Craig Pawson after Axel Disasi's late winner is disallowed
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Chelsea players fume at Craig Pawson after Axel Disasi’s late winner is disallowed

It had seemed like it was going to be another night to forget as Marc Cucurella’s own goal and a Morgan Rogers strike put Villa 2-0 up at the break.

But Chelsea, still licking their wounds from their 5-0 hammering at Arsenal in midweek, responded well and drew level through Noni Madueke and Conor Gallagher before the injury-time drama.

Villa will feel they got away with one, despite leading 2-0.

Pochettino told TNT Sports: “Everyone that was watching the game will feel disappointed. Two different things the referee said it was a foul and disallowed the goal and then going to the VAR to confirm.

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Highlights from the match between Aston Villa and Chelsea in the Premier League.

“The referee is unbelievable and it’s ridiculous. It is difficult to accept, these type of things in the semi-final [FA Cup against Man City] two weeks ago it was handball and it was no penalty, the referee he 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 foul and if you see the challenge what happened if we go into every single challenge like this it is going to be a foul and we wouldn’t finish the game with 11 [players].

Chelsea rousing response was denied its fairytale ending
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Chelsea rousing response was denied its fairytale ending

Disasi's header struck Robin Olsen on its way into the net
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Disasi’s header struck Robin Olsen on its way into the net

The decision keeps Villa seven points clear of Spurs
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The decision keeps Villa seven points clear of Spurs

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

Aiming to qualify for Europe’s premier club competition for the first time, they were primed to move nine points clear of fifth-placed Tottenham but looked leggy and not at their best.

The draw has opened the door to Spurs, who have three games in hand, but Villa will still be favourites to finish in fourth as the north London club have Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City still to play.

Pochettino will be pleased with his side’s performance and they still have a chance to qualify for Europe if they can finish an inconsistent season strongly.

A disastrous piece of defending from Diego Carlos allowed Cole Palmer to slalom into the area, but Olsen pulled out a big save
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A disastrous piece of defending from Diego Carlos allowed Cole Palmer to slalom into the area, but Olsen pulled out a big save

“I am calm and it is only to help,” Pochettino added. “The performance was very good and we played really well it is true in the first half we conceded easy.

“The things we tried to change the team didn’t concede too much. To play Villa who are fighting for the top four I am pleased with the team and the players were good.

“I think that it was what we expected and today was a good opportunity against a good team. Now, we have to move on and it will be in the headlines with the disallowed goal.”

What’s next?


Thursday 2nd May 7:00pm


Kick off 7:30pm


Aston Villa’s next outing is at home to Olympiakos in the first leg of their Conference League semi-final on Thursday; kick-off 8pm.

Villa then travel to Brighton in the Premier League on Sunday; kick-off 2pm.

Chelsea are next in action at home to Tottenham on Thursday, live on Sky Sports; kick-off 7.30pm. The Blues then host West Ham on Sunday; kick-off 2pm.

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