March 28, 2023

Tottenham Hotspur manager Antonio Conte on Friday doubled down on his criticism of VAR, saying it should be impossible for mistakes like the one he claims happened this week to be made.

Conte was sent off on Wednesday after a goal in stoppage-time by Harry Kane against Sporting in the Champions League was ruled out for offside after a VAR check which lasted several minutes.

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The match ended 1-1 but had Kane’s goal been allowed Tottenham would have qualified for the last 16. Kane’s goal was disallowed after VAR decided he was offside when the ball was headed back to him by Emerson Royal, although it also arrived at Kane via a touch off a Sporting player.

Conte was so angry after the game that his news conference lasted for only one question, but on Friday he had gathered his thoughts and was adamant his side had been wronged.

“I confirm, I repeat the decision was really wrong. It created a big damage to us,” Conte, who will be banned for Tuesday’s vital trip to Marseille, said at a news conference on Friday.

“I continue to think it’s impossible to make mistakes with VAR. It’s impossible. Because you have a screen, you have time.

“For me it’s impossible to make a wrong decision with VAR and also to [take] four, five or six minutes [to make it].

“To stay there five or six minutes already means you have confusion in your mind. It’s incredible.”

Conte again claimed “dishonesty” in the decision to disallow Kane’s goal, having also said on Wednesday that officials would not be brave enough to disallow a goal for other clubs.

“I hope in every situation to see honesty. I only ask for this, honesty. But to make mistakes with VAR, it means you’re really, really … I don’t want to say what I think,” he added.

Why are storm clouds gathering over Conte?

Conte said he was a fan of VAR when it was introduced in Italy, but the way the system is now being used relied too much on individual interpretation.

“You score, you are already qualified for the next round, you are celebrating and then you stay for five minutes to look at the situation with VAR and you take the decision and you don’t know if it’s right or wrong,” he said.

“This is not football in this way because you cut the emotion, the emotion of everybody and especially the players because you don’t know.

“For this reason I continue to tell it has to be the right interpretation, the right interpretation for everybody and not different interpretation, otherwise VAR becomes damaged.”

While Wednesday’s events rumbled on, Conte’s focus turns to third-placed Tottenham getting back to winning ways in the Premier League after successive defeats.

Conte said that Saturday’s opponents, Bournemouth, will have an advantage as they have had a week to prepare.

“For sure when you go to play against a team that is playing one game every six or seven days, it is a bit difficult because maybe they have more energy and intensity than you,” he said.

Conte confirmed that midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg is available after missing last weekend’s loss to Newcastle but central defender Cristian Romero would be monitored.

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