Wolves manager’s passionate rant over VAR – “Tonight has finally turned me against it”

Gary O’Neil asked “what is the point in VAR?” after his Wolves side conceded a controversial late penalty during a 3-2 defeat at Craven Cottage.

VAR sent referee Michael Salisbury to the screen to award a penalty after Joao Gomes brought Harry Wilson down in the box, Willian scoring his second spot kick of the game to seal all three points for Fulham.

O’Neil highlighted the decisions involving the late penalty, Carlos Vinicius’ alleged headbutt on Max Kilman and why Tim Ream did not receive a second yellow for a foul on Hwang Hee-Chan.

The Wolves boss criticised the decisions during the game and believes VAR has not helped the referee.

O’Neil said: “I don’t think it’s helped the game.

“I think the ref would have done a better job on his own. I don’t think VAR helped him but in fact it hindered him.

“Sending him to the screen for one and not to the other, not advising him there is a headbutt or that Tim Ream should receive a red card. What is the point in VAR?

“They said they got the Harry Wilson one right [for the last penalty decision]. There’s minimal contact and I don’t think there’s enough.”

O’Neil, who spoke to the referee after the match, also felt aggrieved about Fulham‘s first penalty awarded for a foul by Nelson Semedo on Tom Cairney.

He told Sky Sports: “Nelson plays the ball, doesn’t touch Tom Cairney. I watched it back with the referee, and to be fair to him he says he thinks they’ve got that wrong and he should have been sent to the monitor.

“Doesn’t help me. It doesn’t help all the fans that have travelled all this way to watch the team. Doesn’t help the players who are feeling frustrated again.

“The Nelson one has pretty much been admitted by the referee that [there was] a mistake.”

O’Neil, who has seen his side emerge on the wrong end of decisions before this season, said: “It’s bad luck that it keeps going against us, but there are bad refereeing decisions in there.

“I’ve had a real grown-up conversation in there with [Salisbury], I’m trying to remain calm. I’m not angry with anybody. I’m not in there abusing people.

“It’s literally a conversation around, ‘come on, guys, it’s six, seven points now that have gone against us, I’m managing a big football club here, and the difference that you’re making to my reputation, to the club’s progression up the league, to people’s livelihoods is huge’.

“It can’t be that with all the technology and all the time and the biggest league in the world that we’re getting so many wrong. It can’t be OK.

“I’ve always been for VAR but I think it’s causing a big problem at the moment. Maybe tonight has finally turned me against VAR when I thought it would probably help, but it doesn’t seem to be.”