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  • By Matthew Ferris at Cobham Training Ground

Jackson set to start against Wolves as Chelsea boss laments VAR decisions in defeat at Liverpool

Mauricio Pochettino Picture: Paul Lagan
Mauricio Pochettino Picture: Paul Lagan

By Matthew Ferris at Cobham

After refusing to criticise the officials for failing to award two contentious penalty decisions against Liverpool on Wednesday, Mauricio Pochettino admitted that he was frustrated by the inconsistencies of VAR in his press conference ahead of Chelsea’s game against Wolves on Sunday.  


Virgil Van Dijk had made contact with Connor Gallagher and Christopher Nkunku in the penalty area, but both decisions were quickly dismissed by VAR. 


He explained that he was hesitant to criticise the officials in the heat of the moment, especially after seeing his team comprehensively beaten. 


Pochettino said: “I think after five minutes everyone saw that it was clear, it was so clear, and after you see some decisions last night that are not so clear, and the same situation with the same person, two different criteria’s, I think it’s so difficult to understand.” 


The Argentine was referencing a penalty incident in Wolves’ dramatic defeat to Manchester United on Thursday.  


Pedro Neto went down under a challenge from Casimeiro that involved even less force than the two penalty claims Chelsea had on Wednesday.  


Paul Tierney, who refereed the game against Liverpool, was on VAR duty for the game and deemed there to be enough contact to stay with the on-field decision.  


While Pochettino was insinuating inconsistencies with Paul Tierney, it is important to remember that the threshold for overturning decisions with VAR is higher, with the idea of the clear and obvious error in mind.  


Tierney’s role as the VAR official obviously differs to refereeing on the pitch, and his decision not to overturn Wolves’ penalty was understandable because it wasn’t a clear and obvious error, despite there being minimal contact.  


The decisions that went against Chelsea probably came under the cricketing term of ‘umpires call,’ but Pochettino’s frustrations are more than justified when penalties have been given on field for a lot less.  


He said: “Now after two days, normally with the emotion of the game I think you can not say too much but after two days the feeling is still here in your gut, we didn’t have luck.” 


He also backed his current forward options to perform for the rest of the season after Armando Broja’s loan move to Fulham was confirmed late on deadline day.  


About Broja’s move, he said: “I think it’s a very good thing for him to have the opportunity to play more. It's a good move for him.” 


When asked about whether he was concerned that Chelsea had not brought in another striker, he said: “I think it’s important to recover Christopher [Nkunku] and today Nico [Jackson] arrived and then also sometimes we forget but Deivid Washington is here with us.


“The options we have upfront are enough, the market was quiet in the Premier League.” 


Nkunku’s goal-scoring 45-minute cameo on Wednesday was one of the few glimmers of hope to cling onto in a game where the collective performance was well below par.  


Pochettino said: “It’s good to see him, 45 minutes was good. We wanted to work a little bit more after the game but we couldn’t.” 


On whether he will be able to start, he said: “We need to analyse and assess him. We need to put into context and hope he can cope with the demands of the game.”  


Jackson had his first training session with the team on Friday, and Pochettino confirmed he will be in the squad for Sunday barring any late hiccups.  


Levi Colwill is still out for the game on Sunday, and while Trevoh Chalobah has progressed well, Pochettino acknowledged they are still waiting for permission from the medical staff to allow him to play. 


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