Norwich City’s Timm Klose has admitted that he thought he did foul Willian for a penalty in the controversial incident that saw the Brazilian booked for diving without the use of VAR, as Chelsea manager Antonio Conte intensely argued that the decision was a “big mistake” and that the system must be improved if it is to continue to be used.
The incident came at the start of extra-time of the champions’ eventual 5-3 penalty shoot-out FA Cup fourth-round win following a 1-1 draw, when Willian went into the box, only to go down with Klose sticking out his foot. Referee Graham Scott issued a yellow card to the Brazilian, and VAR was not signalled, since it was not considered a “clear and obvious” error.
"I think it was a penalty,” Klose said. “I think I caught him if I'm being totally honest.”
Such an admission will have only strengthened Conte’s feelings.
“I think that we need to improve if we want to use this new system,” the Italian argued. “Today, in this game, there is a situation very clear with Willian at the start of the first period of extra-time. I think the situation was very clear. I watched it and this is a penalty. Very clear. But this is not because I'm not happy with a referee's decision.
“The referee took quickly a decision to book Willian. That means you don't have doubt. If you do this quickly, it means you don't have doubt. Instead, I repeat, if we want to improve – it's only to try and improve the system – we have to wait to check with the person who is watching the game and then, if this person is sure 100% that it is simulation, go and book Willian. Instead, I think the person watching the game, at least you must have a doubt. There is a kick to Willian and he should call the referee and tell him. Maybe it's a penalty, for me.
“I watched it in the changing-room, and I think it was very clear. It was a big mistake. But I repeat, I don't want to know why. At least to avoid a big mistake, you have to call the referee and tell him: 'Look, maybe this situation there is a doubt. For me it's no penalty, but it's better you go and watch it, and then take the final decision.' Otherwise we cut the power to the referee on the pitch, and that is not right.”
Conte refused to blame Scott.
“As you know very well, I don't like to speak about the referee. I like to accept the referee's decision. But, if we want to use a new system, I can't accept a big mistake. In this case, the Willian penalty was a big, big mistake.
“Not from the referee on the pitch, but from the person watching the game. If you're watching the game and don't see this situation... I hope the VAR wasn't a referee because if you see that watching on television and don't think that's a penalty... He has to improve and must improve. I'm talking about them trying to improve in this situation. I don't want an advantage [from diving]. It'll be important to improve.
“I've seen it once… I watched it in the changing-room, and I think it was very clear. It was a big mistake. But I repeat, I don't want to know why. At least to avoid a big mistake, you have to call the referee and tell him: 'Look, maybe this situation there is a doubt. For me it's no penalty, but it's better you go and watch it, and then take the final decision.' Otherwise we cut the power to the referee on the pitch, and that is not right.”
Conte also spoke of how the system had teething problems in his home country, in Serie A.
“In Italy, before to arrive to use this new system, they tried, tried, tried... But if you want to try quickly this new system, then you have to find the best solution. For me, this is not the right solution if the referee doesn't refer a doubtful decision. The final decision stays with the referee on the pitch, not the one watching the game. But it's only because we want to try and use this new system, and this is my opinion to help the referee use this new system. We have been using it in Italy for six months, and you can reduce a lot the referee's mistakes.
“But you must be sure, 100%. And, despite this, there is another person checking the situation. If the person checking the situation calls you and says it's a penalty, you say you made a mistake, take back the yellow card and give the penalty. I think we have to find the right solution to try to help the referee.”
“I don't know, but I don't want an advantage. About Pedro, if there is a dive, it's right to take a yellow card. It's the same for Morata. I don't want an advantage, especially if you know this system is being used. You can watch every situation with this situation. If someone gives a punch or an elbow, you must pay great attention. In this case, if it wasn't a penalty, it was right to give a yellow card.”
Morata received his second yellow for the nature of his complaints.
“For sure, I'm not happy for the second yellow card for Morata. The first yellow card was for a doubtful situation – I didn't watch Morata's situation yet – but the second was for dissent. You must pay great attention. In this moment of the game, you have to pay great attention to stay calm and make the best decision.”
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