Poch: VAR call on Chelsea winner ‘damaged’ Prem

A VAR decision ruling out what looked to be a late winner for Chelsea at Aston Villa on Saturday has damaged the Premier League, the London club’s manager Mauricio Pochettino said.

His side thought they have completed a remarkable comeback when substitute Axel Disasi netted in second-half stoppage time, but the goal was ruled out after a VAR review penalised a push by Benoit Badiashile in the build-up.

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“Me and you and everyone in the stadium watching the game, they didn’t see a foul on the pitch and then VAR changed the decision of the referee. For me that was a normal challenge. The decision was there and that’s it,” Pochettino told broadcaster TNT following the 2-2 draw.

“For me, it damaged a little bit the Premier League and English [football]. If we want to be the best league in the world it should be protecting the spectacle and the decision … [it] damaged myself, damaged my team, my players, the fans,” he added.

Chelsea were 2-0 down at the break but goals from Noni Madueke and Conor Gallagher put them level before the late goal was overturned.

“The performance was very good and we played really well. It is true in the first half we conceded easy … to play Villa, who are fighting for the top four, I am pleased with the team and the players were good,” Pochettino said.

Villa boss Unai Emery said his side, who are currently in fourth spot and seven points ahead of Tottenham Hotspur, still had their sights set on qualifying for next season’s Champions League. Spurs, however, have three games in hand.

“We have to try to keep being consistent with the players we have and I believe in the players … in Premier League we are fighting with Tottenham for fourth position,” he said.

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