'VAR embarrassed the referee' – Conte says English football must learn how to use VAR properly

·3-min read

Antonio Conte says English football "must learn to use VAR the right way" after Tottenham had a penalty decision overturned in Wednesday's 1-1 draw with West Ham.

Referee Peter Bankes awarded Tottenham a spot-kick early on at London Stadium after Harry Kane's downward header struck the arm of Aaron Cresswell.

However, after a VAR check spanning four minutes, Bankes was instructed to view the incident on the pitchside monitor and decided the ball had inadvertently hit Cresswell's arm.

Conte was furious with the decision, although his side did go on to open the scoring before half-time when Thilo Kehrer turned Harry Kane's delivery into his own net.

Spurs were on course to make it 13 points from their first five Premier League games at that point – which would have been a club record – only for West Ham to hit back.

Michail Antonio flicked the ball into the path of Tomas Soucek to fire in an equaliser for the hosts, who looked the more likely to win the match in the remaining 35 minutes.

Tottenham remain unbeaten after five Premier League games for just the third time, but Conte was not happy after the game as he took aim at the match officials.

"Honestly, at the end of the first half, I spoke with the referee and told him 'you have taken the right decision'," Conte told BT Sport.

"It's incredible that VAR looked again and called the referee. [The referee] can see it was the right decision and the call from VAR was strange.

"I can tell only that the referee has taken the right decision. Usually the VAR calls when the call is not right.

"In England they have to learn to use the VAR in the right way. You have to study very well and be more accurate.

"If there's VAR, you have to utilise it in the right way or accept the decision of the referee. If you have a TV, you have time to see. It's difficult not only for me but every coach."

West Ham 1-1 Tottenham
West Ham 1-1 Tottenham

Elaborating on his comments at his post-match news conference, Conte said: "It's difficult to explain as you know very well that I don't like to comment on refereeing decisions.

"I've never done this in England. But today I like to comment on the decision because it was the right one [initially].

"With a smile I told [the referee] you've taken the right decision. For sure VAR embarrassed the referee because to make him change the right decision was really, really strange."

Tottenham, who are now winless in their past three league trips to London Stadium, ended the contest with an expected goals (xG) return of 0.6 compared to 1.3 for West Ham.

While upset with VAR, head coach Conte accepts his side could have done more to see out the victory.

"Without the penalty, we still went 1-0 up. In my opinion maybe we can do better to kill the game," he said.

"If you stay and you keep your opponent in the game it can happen a corner, a throw-in, a free-kick, and especially against West Ham you can pay and we paid.

"I think we have to learn for next time, for the future. We are going step by step. I think that the team today showed also to be strong and to be difficult to play against.

"But at the same time, when you have the opportunity to get three points, you have to get three points."