Parker fumes at costly VAR decision; Bruce happy to settle for point

Jonny Whitfield
Steve Bruce, Scott Parker

Fulham boss Scott Parker was left fuming at the “criminal” penalty decision which cost his side Premier League victory at Newcastle.

The visitors were leading through Matt Ritchie’s first-half own goal when referee Graham Scott awarded a 64th-minute penalty.

Defender Joachim Andersen’s challenge on Callum Wilson came under question and, after reviewing the incident on the pitchside monitor, then produced a red card.

Wilson converted the resulting spot-kick to clinch a 1-1 draw and leave Parker bemused about the use of VAR.

He said: “What’s puzzling and concerning is we have VAR now, he walks over to a screen – I don’t know if he’s seen a different angle to what I’ve just seen in the changing room, but the initial contact takes place outside the box and he then falls over.

“What’s concerning me is that that we brought VAR in to make correct decisions and yet again I sit here and a lot of other managers sit here – there’s one every week, two every week – saying we’re not really sure how we’ve come to the decision, and that’s what’s puzzling.

“Look, there’s no denying that the game has changed and the game has changed drastically. I don’t mind if the game has changed drastically and we’re moving things and evolving things in football if we’re getting to the right decisions.

Joachim Andersen

“But sitting here with everything in place and the way the game is going and they’re still not coming to right decisions is criminal for me, and that’s what’s frustrating and that’s what’s disappointing.”

Parker’s disappointment was compounded by the fact that his team had done everything he had asked of them up until the penalty, and then responded to the challenge of holding out with 10 men as the Magpies attempted to snatch victory.

He said: “I have nothing but admiration and good words to say about my team, really positive.

“I thought we were exceptional today, certainly first half, we showed a real quality about us and maybe a fairer reflection would have been a couple of goals going in.

“We missed some big, big chances in the first half, and then there’s no denying the second half that the penalty changes the game, and the sending off.”

Bruce happy to settle for point

Steve Bruce

Opposite number Steve Bruce insisted the penalty decision, which brought Wilson is eighth goal of the season – the same as he managed in total in the league during his final campaign at Bournemouth – was the right one.

However, he admitted his side, who lost Federico Fernandez to illness at the break, had not been good enough on the night as they attempted to bounce back from Wednesday evening’s 5-2 drubbing at Leeds.

Bruce said: “We have to say we’ll take the point. We haven’t done enough today, both with the ball and without it and even with 10 men, we struggled to find any real quality to open up Fulham, who I thought we very impressive.

“We’ve had a difficult week, so I think we’ll take the point and move on, but we certainly have to play better than we played today.”

Newcastle return to action on Tuesday when they play Brentford in a Carabao Cup quarter-final tie. Fulham, meanwhile, play again on Boxing Day against Southampton.