Dean Smith left baffled by VAR ruling; dismisses Villa opponents’ threat


Aston Villa manager Dean Smith was left in a state of bewilderment after admitting “I don’t know what a penalty is now.”

Villa succumbed to a 2-1 defeat by the narrowest of margins in a pulsating clash with Brighton.

A set piece goal from Ezri Konsa hauled Villa back into the contest following Danny Welbeck’s opener. But Solly March’s wonder strike sealed all three points midway through the second half.

As has become customary in the Premier League, there was late VAR drama moments before the final whistle.

Winger Trezeguet appeared to have won a penalty when goalscorer March made contact with his shin inside the area.

Referee Michael Oliver initially awarded the spot kick, but upon advice to check the pitch side monitor, ultimately overturned his decision after replays showed March first made contact with the ball.

Speaking to the BBC after the contest, Smith said: “I don’t know what a penalty is now. We could all hear the contact inside the ground.

FULL MATCH REPORT: Aston Villa left fuming at last gasp drama in feisty Brighton clash

“If VAR thinks it’s not a penalty then just tell the referee it’s not a penalty. It wasn’t given so we have to take it on the chin.

“I don’t think we were bad. We missed chances and we’ve made big mistakes for their goals. We have to defend much better.

“Brighton were a threat on the counter but I wasn’t overly concerned.

“I thought we had control of the game and if we had taken our chances we would have won.”