Tottenham boss Antonio Conte says officials in England “have to learn” how to use the Video Assistant Referee system after his side were held to a Premier League draw at West Ham.
David Moyes’ side hit back from a goal behind at London Stadium to claim a point against Spurs, who maintain their unbeaten start to the campaign.
Conte’s men have won three and drawn two of their five games so far and stay in third place, but saw the two sides above them – north London rivals Arsenal and champions Manchester City – both claim victories on Wednesday.
Spurs thought they had a penalty when Peter Bankes pointed to the spot for an Aaron Cresswell handball, but after a lengthy check by VAR and having watched the incident on the pitchside monitor, the referee overturned his decision.
“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 is incredible that VAR looked again, called the referee, he 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.”
The visitors did break the deadlock in the first half through Thilo Kehrer’s own goal – the German sliding in and diverting the ball into his own net following Harry Kane’s low cross.
Michail Antonio curled a delightful strike against the post before West Ham deservedly levelled in the second half courtesy of Tomas Soucek, the Czech confidently converting from Antonio’s clever flicked pass.
Club record signing Lucas Paqueta was introduced for his Hammers debut after the hour mark despite not having trained with David Moyes’ men since signing from Lyon.
The best opportunity for a winner fell to Pablo Fornals but the Spaniard flashed his first-time shot over from 12 yards, while at the other end Kane’s scuffed volley was gathered by Lukasz Fabianski.
Conte’s men lack cutting edge
Spurs have enjoyed a decent start to the new season but it will be games like this which they feel they should be winning to be considered genuine title challengers.
Though they took a fortuitous the lead in this London derby aided by Kehrer’s own goal, they were pegged back by the hosts and were unable to find a way to grab all three points.
Emerson Royal’s long-range drive and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s low drilled effort were both kept out by Fabianski.
The most controversial moment of the contest came in the opening period when Bankes awarded a spot-kick after the ball hit Cresswell’s outstretched arm.
But after a check which lasted more than three minutes, the officials ruled that it had come off the full-back’s head before bouncing on to his arm and the decision was overturned.
Conte said: “In England they have to learn much more to use the VAR in the right way. You have to study very well and be more accurate.
“If there is VAR, you have to utilise it in the right way or accept the decision of the referee. If you have a TV then you have time to see. It is difficult not only for me but every coach.”
Spurs were unable to push on after taking the lead and the form of front man Son Heung-min will be a worry. The South Korean is yet to score this season and saw a shot deflect wide in the second period.
Summer signing Richarlison came on with 15 minutes remaining, but the Brazilian struggled to make an impact in his limited time on the pitch.
West Ham pegged their opponents back through Soucek’s well-taken goal after a crafty pass from Antonio, making his 200th league appearance for the Hammers.
Jarrod Bowen, yet to net in the league this term, could have won it in injury time but his volley on the stretch went agonisingly wide of the far post.
West Ham move up to 14th but have made an inconsistent start, with three consecutive defeats followed the weekend victory over Aston Villa.
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