Chelsea survived a scare to advance in the FA Cup at the expense of Norwich on a night which heaped scrutiny on the Video Assistant Referee system which was labelled a “shambles”.
Former England captain Alan Shearer, working as a pundit for the BBC, criticised the decision of match referee Graham Scott not to consult VAR Mike Jones over Timm Klose’s challenge on Willian early in the first period of extra time.
“We all think that’s an obvious penalty here, and he’s booked him for diving?
Chelsea prevailed 5-3 on penalties to set up a fourth-round tie with Newcastle, but only after three players were booked for diving – with Pedro and Alvaro Morata subsequently sent off.
Conte felt Jones should have suggested Scott, who as on-field referee has the final say, review the incident on the pitchside monitor.
“The Willian penalty was a big, big mistake,” Conte said.
“I hope this wasn’t a referee (as VAR). If you don’t see this when you’re watching TV, maybe when you’re on the pitch it would be impossible to see this type of situation.
“I watched it in the changing room and I think it was very clear.
“It was a big mistake. To avoid a big mistake you have to call the referee and to say: ‘Oh look, maybe this situation this is a doubt. It’s better if you go to watch’.
“Otherwise we cut the power to the referee on the pitch, and that is not right.
“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 per cent that it is simulation,
go and book Willian.”
But Jamal Lewis headed in Klose’s cross in the fourth minute of stoppage time for 1-1 and to force extra time.
And penalties followed, with Willy Caballero saving from Nelson Oliveira before Eden Hazard made sure of Chelsea’s triumph.
Norwich boss Daniel Farke was reluctant to comment on the controversies, as he had not watched the incidents again, but he is not a VAR fan.
“I didn’t watch the scenes back and I don’t want to judge it at all. There were some close decisions in both boxes,” he said.
“I’m a bit old fashioned. I like more the traditional game and when football is simple.
“It’s a good idea, but it’s a bit tricky to handle.”