Gary O’Neil says Michael Salisbury admitted that he got a crucial decision wrong during Wolves’ dramatic 3-2 defeat at Fulham on Monday night as he calls for change to how VAR is used.
Three penalties were given in the match, with Fulham getting two and Wolves one, the decisive one coming deep into second half stoppage time when Harry Wilson was felled in the box by Joao Gomes.
The penalty was not initially given, but VAR stepped in and after consulting the screen, Salisbury pointed to the spot.
The referee stuck to his guns on that point, but admitted to O’Neil that a mistake was made for the first Fulham penalty when Nelson Semedo was adjudged to have brought to Tom Cairney.
That left O’Neil frustrated, but that was not the only decision the Wolves boss was seething with after the defeat.
O’Neil went to speak to Salisbury after the match and then told Sky Sports: ‘We discussed a lot of decisions. Vinicius should have been sent off for headbutting Max [Kilman]. Clear, he headbutts him on the nose. Isn’t sent off, is given a yellow.
‘Tim Ream should have been sent off for a second bookable offence on the penalty. They’re both my opinions on those, obviously everyone can have their own.
‘The penalties that went against us, Nelson plays the ball, doesn’t touch Tom Cairney. I watched that 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, 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.
‘So the Nelson one has pretty much been admitted by the referee that they made a mistake.
‘The one on Harry Wilson we disagree on a little bit. He thinks there’s enough contact there to give a penalty. I think it’s really soft. So you could argue two of them could go against us, but for all four of them to go against us is a tough one for the lads, the supporters and myself to take because we’ve been here a lot of times this season. It’s tough because we didn’t deserve that.’
Wolves have been on the wrong end of a number of questionable decisions and received an apology from PGMOL back in August after not getting a penalty against Manchester United.
O’Neil has had enough and believes a string of decisions are having a huge impact on him and his team.
‘Bad luck that it keeps going against us, but there are bad refereeing decisions in there,’ he said. ‘I’ve had a real grown-up conversation with him in there, i’m trying to remain calm and I’m not angry with anybody, I’m not in there abusing people.
‘It’s a conversation around, “come on guys it’s six or seven points now that have gone against us. I’m managing a big football clear here. The difference that you’re making to my reputation, the club’s progression up the league, ot people’s livelihoods is huge.”
‘It can’t be with all the technology, all the time, the biggest league in the world that we’re getting so many wrong. It can’t be okay.
‘What can I do? I have two options really now. I keep behaving the way that I should and I make my players behave in the way that we should, we respect everybody and the decision making. Or we go, that’s not working, we’re going to have to make some noise. I’d rather be a decent human being, answer things honestly and have honest chats with people but things need to get better because I can’t accept us being on the wrong end of decisions as often as we are.’
O’Neil said he has been a supporter of VAR, but has now changed his mind and it may now be the time to step back from using the technology.
‘I’ve always been for VAR but I think it’s causing a big problem at the moment,’ he said. ‘The fact that the first one’s not deemed a clear and obvious error but the second one is, I just think VAR has cost us there.
‘If it was just a normal referee maybe we concede one penalty from a mistake, the fact that we’ve conceded two…for me, VAR is not helping much with subjective decisions. Maybe tonight has finally turned me against VAR when I thought it would help but it doesn’t seem to be.’
, . , and .