Lampard admits concerns over VAR as Chelsea edge out Watford
The Hornets were awarded a controversial penalty in the last 10 minutes.
Chelsea boss Frank Lampard says VAR is “not in a great place” after more controversy in his side’s 2-1 victory at winless Watford.
The Blues were coasting towards the three points at Vicarage Road after goals from Tammy Abraham and Christian Pulisic.
But Watford were allowed back into the game in the final 10 minutes when VAR awarded them a penalty for Jorginho’s trip on Gerard Deulofeu, who converted the spot-kick.
Referee Anthony Taylor’s original decision was overturned after a lengthy checking process at Stockley Park and Lampard insists that was at odds with what he thought was decided at a Premier League meeting he attended this week.
“I have got to be careful. Last week we saw a change in VAR, a clear change in penalties getting overturned,” he said.
“I was at a managers’ meeting in the week. We spoke a lot about it and the absolute consensus from managers, referees, Premier League was that decisions were not going to get overturned unless they were absolutely clear and obvious, if VAR saw something on the pitch that the referee didn’t see.
“This didn’t, it nowhere near showed that. The longer it took, the more worried I got.
“I am so, so surprised from coming away on Thursday from that meeting to then having that decision today. We’re not in a great place with it.
“Anything that takes that long means that there is something they are not sure about, so then why aren’t we using the screens on the side of the pitch?
“I know it is a bit contentious, but if we are going to start saying there are grey areas when turning over decisions because one referee somewhere else thinks it’s more of a penalty than the referee on the pitch did, then I think we are in a really dangerous place.
“We are going to be tossing a coin every week to see what decisions you get.”
Even though it was controversial, Chelsea should never have been in the position where they were hanging on to the game after dominating at Vicarage Road.
Abraham’s fifth-minute goal was followed by Pulisic’s effort in the second half, but it could have been far more handsome had it not been for a heroic performance by Hornets goalkeeper Ben Foster, who made a string of saves.
In the end, it was a brilliant save by Chelsea keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga with the last action that protected the three points when he kept out a header from Foster.
“We dominated the game, played some great football for big periods of it, created some real chances,” Lampard said.
“You have to give credit to Ben Foster because he made some great saves, but we feel there is at least three or four goals in that game, which does put it to bed. Two never does.
“We have felt that already this season. It shouldn’t take anything away from us but it has been the story of our season.”
For Watford, they have now set a new club record as they are yet to win in their opening 11 league matches and things are looking bleak.
Recently-appointed manager Quique Sanches Flores does not appear to have too much credit in the bank with the club’s fans after they sang ‘You don’t know what you’re doing’ after one of the Spaniard’s substitutions.
He says tensions with fans are creating more obstacles for his side.
“It is normal,” he said. “In this situation you need to manage a lot of things, it is not just about the results.
“You have to care about the players and the fans. At the moment between the fans and the players we have a missing link and it is creating more obstacles than we already have.
“To manage so many things this is not easy. It is tough and difficult.
“We are not the same coach sometimes when we have many things to manage.”