The Portuguese tactician spoke out against the video technology after its intervention saw a goal disallowed against Leicester
Wolves coach Nuno Espirito Santo has criticised the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) process after his team had a goal chalked off in a 0-0 draw at Leicester City in their Premier League opener on Sunday.
Belgian midfielder Leander Dendoncker found the back of the net in the 53rd minute, but the strike was ruled out after VAR intervention, with the technology showing the ball had struck Wily Boly’s arm in the build-up.
When asked about VAR after the match, Espirito Santo didn’t dispute the decision, but made it clear he was worried about the process affecting the game – in particular a change in fan behaviour with the Foxes fans celebrating the call against Dendoncker.
“I didn’t see the images [of Dendoncker’s disallowed goal] – but I trust them. What can we do? [The VAR] has a TV and they can stop the image,” Espirito Santo said to Sky Sports in a post-match interview.
“But what I’m concerned about is let’s not ruin the game. Things that weren’t before should not be now.
“We have such a nice Premier League product, we cannot lose it. It’s what fans come here for – not to celebrate when [there] is no goal. That is not the real celebration of football. You celebrate when there is a goal. Creating these moments are not good for the atmosphere of the game.”
There was one minute, 38 seconds of elapsed time between Dendoncker’s shot crossing the line and play resuming after it had been ruled out by the VAR.
Espirito Santo was adamant the VAR process for Dendoncker’s effort was drawn out and reiterated the response from Leicester fans goes against what football is about.
“Yeah, [the VAR process is too long],” he said.
“And then after, the fans of Leicester with all my respect, they celebrate it – a non-goal. That’s not the mindset of the game.”
Wolves continue their Europa League campaign in the third qualifying round against Armenia’s Pyunik on Thursday at the Molineux – having won the first leg 4-0 on the road last week.
They will search for their first Premier League win of the season against Manchester United at home on August 19.