Football News

“Not good enough” – Lampard & Azpilicueta unhappy as VAR clouds Chelsea’s win over Spurs

By Ollie Thomas

Published: 18:51, 22 February 2020

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has criticised VAR after it failed to send Giovani Lo Celso off in his side’s 2-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur. 

Despite Lo Celso appearing to stamp on Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta on Saturday, VAR initially deemed that it was not worthy of a red – before later admitting the decision was wrong and a case of “human error”.

Chelsea’s VARcical week: Five things to know…

  • Chelsea’s week has been dominated by VAR controversy.
  • There was widespread confusion when Harry Maguire avoided punishment for kicking out at Michy Batshuayi.
  • Kurt Zouma was also denied a goal after Cesar Azpilicueta was pushed into Brandon Williams by Fred.
  • Giroud later saw a goal chalked off for a marginal offside.
  • The worst, however, came against Spurs on Saturday lunchtime.

After spending a lot of time examining the incident involving Lo Celso and Azpilicueta, it seemed a matter of ‘when’ not ‘if’ the Spurs midfielder would be given a red card. It looked as though he had stamped on the Chelsea captain’s shin but – to everyone’s bemusement – Lo Celso escaped without punishment.

Initial reports came out that VAR believed it wasn’t a clear and obvious error by referee Michael Oliver as there wasn’t anywhere else for Lo Celso to put his foot.

However, the VAR team at Stockley Park would later admit that the decision was a mistake and that Lo Celso should have been sent off, putting it down to “human error”.

But their realisation of the mistake was not enough for Lampard, who has started to grow frustrated with the technology, particularly after his team also suffered at the hands of VAR in their defeat to Manchester United on Monday.

He told BT Sport“It’s not good enough. I’m sorry. It’s two VARs in two games.

“It’s always harder to speak about it when you’ve lost because people claim you’re just shouting, but maybe you need to shout. Everybody in the world saw that it was a red. But it’s too late [to say they made a mistake]. The game should be over.

“I hate to call for red cards, but when they’re endangering players … it’s a leg-breaker. VAR has been brought in to get the right decision. I’m not saying anything about referees on the spot, it’s not easy on the spot, VAR is here to clear it up.

“I’m not surprised that they’ve put it right, but it’s not good enough.”

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“It was a clear stamp”

Azpilicueta, the recipient of Lo Celso’s tackle, echoed Lampard’s frustration with technology’s failure to show the Spurs man a red card.

The Spaniard was fortunate not to have suffered a serious injury as a result of the challenge and has admitted he was surprised to see Lo Celso escape punishment.

He said“I’m not a player who likes to be on the floor. I am tough. But it was a clear stamp on my shin, I felt it straight away and was surprised it wasn’t a red card. It wasn’t even a yellow card!

“Everybody can make a mistake but when you have a lot of replays it should be easier.”

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