‘VAR embarrassed the referee’: Conte says English football must learn to use VAR properly

Antonio Conte says English football “must learn to use VAR in the right way” after Tottenham overturned a penalty decision in Wednesday’s 1-1 draw with West Ham.

Referee Peter Bankes awarded Tottenham an early spot kick at London Stadium after Harry Kane’s downward header struck Aaron Cresswell’s arm.

However, after a VAR check lasting four minutes, Bankes was instructed to view the incident on the pitch monitor and decided that the ball had inadvertently struck Cresswell’s arm.

Conte was furious at the decision, though his team opened the scoring before halftime when Thilo Kehrer converted a Harry Kane drop into his own net.

Spurs were on course for 13 points from their first five Premier League games at the time, which would have been a club record, only for West Ham to strike back.

Michail Antonio sent the ball into the path of Tomas Soucek to equalize for the hosts, who looked more likely to win the game in the remaining 35 minutes.

Tottenham remain unbeaten after five Premier League games for the third time, but Conte was unhappy after the match as he took aim at match officials.

“Honestly, at the end of the first half, I spoke to the referee and said ‘you have made the right decision’,” Conte told BT Sport.

“It’s incredible that VAR looked again and called the referee. [The referee] It looks like it was the right decision and the VAR call was strange.

“I can only say that the referee has made the correct decision. Usually VAR calls when the decision is not correct.”

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In England they have to learn to use VAR in the right way. You have to study very well and be more precise.

“If there is VAR, you have to use it in the right way or accept the referee’s decision. If you have a TV, you have time to watch. It’s difficult not only for me but for all the coaches.”

Delving into his comments at his post-match press conference, Conte said: “It’s hard to explain as they know very well that I don’t like to comment on refereeing decisions.

“I have never done this in England. But today I like to comment on the decision because it was the right one.” [initially].

“With a smile I said [the referee] you have made the right decision. For sure the VAR embarrassed the referee because making him change the correct decision was very, very strange.”

Tottenham, now winless in their last three league trips to the London Stadium, finished the match with an expected goal return (xG) of 0.6 compared to 1.3 for West Ham.

Although upset with VAR, head coach Conte accepts that his team could have done more to achieve victory.

“Without the penalty, we still won 1-0. In my opinion, maybe we can do better to kill the game,” he said.

“If you stay and keep your opponent in the game, a corner, a throw-in, a free kick can happen, and especially against West Ham you can pay and we pay.”

“I think we have to learn for the next time, for the future. We are going step by step. I think today’s team also proved to be strong and difficult to play against him.”

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“But at the same time, when you have the opportunity to get three points, you have to get three points.”

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