The new VAR system was the big talking point from our FA Cup replay victory over Norwich and Antonio Conte offered his opinion on its use at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night.
The boss has seen how it can be a force for good having been deployed in Italy since the beginning of the season, but he recognises problems must be ironed out in England quickly if it is to be a success in this country.
The decision to book Willian for diving in extra-time, and not award us a penalty even when there was obvious contact, was what especially frustrated Conte following the shoot-out victory that booked our place in the fourth round…
‘We need to improve if we want to use this new system,’ the boss said.
‘There was a very clear situation with
Willian at the start of extra-time. I watched it again and this is a very clear penalty.
‘The referee took the decision quickly to book Willian . It means you don’t have doubt. Instead, if you want to improve this new system, you have to wait to check with the person watching the game. Then, if this person is 100 per cent sure, and says it is simulation, you go and book Willian .
‘The person who was watching the game must have had a doubt. There was a kick to Willian . In this case you have to call the referee and say there is a doubt. Maybe it’s not a penalty, but it’s better you watch the situation because the final decision is for the referee on the pitch. Otherwise we have another referee and this is not right.
‘In Italy, before using this new system, they tried and tried it. When you introduce a new system, you need a bit of time before finding the best way of using it. It is not right if the referee doesn’t go to watch a doubtful situation, because the final decision is for the referee on the pitch.
‘This is my opinion to help the new system. In Italy we have been using this system for six months and I think you can reduce a lot of the referees’ mistakes.
‘I like to accept the referee’s decision,’ Conte added. ‘But if we want to use a new system, I can’t accept a big mistake. The Willian penalty was a big, big mistake, not of the referee on the pitch but the one watching on the TV.
‘I hope it wasn’t a referee because if you don’t see this when you are watching on TV, maybe it will be impossible to see this type of situation when you are on the pitch.’
Conte said he was disappointed with the manner of Alvaro Morata’s second yellow card. He and Pedro were both sent off during extra-time
‘If there is diving it is right to give a yellow card. I don’t want an advantage, especially if you know there is this system. If someone gives a punch or an elbow, you must also pay great attention.
‘I am not happy with the second yellow card for Morata . The first was for a doubtful situation, but I haven’t seen it again. The second yellow card was for dissent. You must pay great attention at this moment of the game to stay calm and to make the best decision.’
Overall Conte was satisfied we advanced and he must now prepare his squad for Saturday’s early kick-off on the South Coast.
‘Our performance was positive. Despite making many changes, we scored one goal and we created many chances to score the second goal. Instead we conceded with 10 seconds to go.
‘Now we have to play in two days against Brighton at 12.30. We have to try to recover very well. I hope we don’t pay, also because my decision was clear: to try to go to the next round tonight and give a bit of rest to the other players.
‘For sure we have to face many problems, and also because Pedro and
Morata are not able to play, but we want to try to get three points.’