Stephen Warnock has claimed that Tottenham should’ve followed the lead of Marcelo Bielsa and Leeds from 2019 after a controversial incident in their 2-1 win over Liverpool on Saturday.
Luis Diaz had a legitimate goal wrongly disallowed for offside, a decision which ultimately cost the Reds, and a subsequent PGMOL explanation as to how VAR got it wrong has raised more questions than provided answers.
Speaking on Sky Sports News on Monday, the former Anfield defender cited the precedent of when Bielsa instructed his Whites team to let Aston Villa walk the ball into his team’s net in response to a contentious goal for the Whites which was scored with an opposition player lying stricken on the ground (BBC Sport).
Warnock said: “This is where the rule book goes out the window, and it should, to keep the integrity of the game where common sense comes into it to say ‘Simon [Hooper, match referee], we’ve messed up, not you…we’ve made an error. You need to atone for this error’.
“The way of doing that could simply be to blow the whistle, walk to the side of the pitch and say ‘both managers, both captains, come in – I’ve made an error. This is what has happened’.
“This would’ve taken two or three minutes to do, but you get the right decision, and you say to them ‘It’s a goal for Liverpool. My recommendation to atone for this error is to do a bounce of the ball and allow Liverpool to score’.”
While Warnock’s logic is understandable, it shouldn’t turn into a case of two wrongs making a right. Tottenham might’ve benefitted from the officials’ mistakes but they’re 0% at fault for what transpired, so they shouldn’t feel any compulsion to simply gift the Reds a goal to make up for the failings of others.
Rather, the solution needs to be one which is simple in theory but probably not so much in practice – the referees at Premier League level, both on the pitch and in VAR, need to do their jobs better.
Players and managers work too hard, and there’s too much at stake for clubs in the division, for matches to turn into such a farce because other parties who can have a direct influence on the final result fail in their duty.
You can view Warnock’s comments below, via @SkySportsPL on Twitter/X:
"They've made it look an absolute mess and it really is a mess" 😡
The Ref Watch panel debate Luis Diaz's goal which was wrongly disallowed due to 'significant human error' 👇 pic.twitter.com/66B0jNMwg1
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) October 2, 2023