Conte reacts angrily to Chelsea red cards; VAR mistake in cup win

Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte was furious at the failure of the Video Assistant Referee to intervene when Willian was shown a yellow card instead of being awarded a penalty in Wednesday night’s FA Cup win over Norwich.

Chelsea won 5-3 on penalties after the third-round replay ended 1-1 after 90 minutes, with Willy Caballero saving Nelson Oliveira’s penalty and Eden Hazard netting the decisive spot-kick.

Pedro and Alvaro Morata were both sent off for Chelsea and will miss Saturday’s Premier League trip to Brighton after both being shown first yellow cards for diving.

And Willian was also booked for diving early in the first period of extra time, when Conte felt the Brazilian was tripped by Canaries defender Timm Klose.

There was confusion over whether referee Graham Scott consulted VAR Mike Jones, but given the speed of the booking it appeared he was certain in his decision.

And Conte felt Jones should have suggested that Scott, who as on-field referee has the final say, review the incident on the pitchside monitor.

“The Willian penalty was a big, big mistake,” Conte said.

“I hope this wasn’t a referee (as VAR). If you don’t see this when you’re watching TV, maybe when you’re on the pitch it would be impossible to see this type of situation.

“I watched it in the changing room and I think it was very clear.

“It was a big mistake. To avoid a big mistake you have to call the referee and to say: ‘Oh look, maybe this situation this is a doubt. It’s better if you go to watch’.

“Otherwise we cut the power to the referee on the pitch, and that is not right.

“If we want to improve – it’s only to try and improve the system – we have to wait to check with the person who is watching the game and then, if this person is sure 100 per cent that it is simulation, go and book Willian.”

Conte was frustrated two of his players were dismissed for diving, and more annoyed with Morata, whose second offence was dissent.

“If there is diving, it’s right to take a yellow card. I don’t want an advantage,” Conte added.

“I’m not happy for the second yellow card to Morata. The second yellow card was for dissent and you must pay attention, to stay calm and make the best decision.”

The Premier League champions thought they had won for the first time in 2018 as Michy Batshuayi was on target in Wednesday night’s FA Cup third-round replay at Stamford Bridge.

But Jamal Lewis headed in Klose’s cross in the fourth minute of stoppage time for 1-1 and force extra time, belatedly prevailing from 12 yards.


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Norwich boss Daniel Farke was reluctant to comment on the controversies, as he had not watched the incidents again, but he is not a VAR fan.

“I didn’t watch the scenes back and I don’t want to judge it at all. There were some close decisions in both boxes,” he said.

“I’m a bit old fashioned. I like more the traditional game and when football is simple.

“It’s a good idea, but it’s a bit tricky to handle.”

Farke said some of Canaries players were upset at the defeat.

“We are a bit disappointed we didn’t win this game,” Farke added.

“There were several lads in the dressing room with tears in their eyes, really disappointed because we were so close.

“I’m really, really proud of this performance. For our fans, for our club and for our group it was a brilliant night.”