Newcastle boss Eddie Howe has admitted his confusion over the use of VAR amid a burning sense of injustice on Tyneside following a series of controversial decisions.
The Magpies, who are facing yet another fight for Premier League survival, have been denied penalties at key moments in each of their last two games and conceded a contentious equaliser at Liverpool with midfielder Isaac Hayden lying prone in the box.
Howe is seeking clarity from referees’ body the Professional Game Match Officials Limited at the end of a week which also left Liverpool counterpart Jurgen Klopp exasperated after seeing Tottenham’s Harry Kane escape a red card, but his full-back Andy Robertson dismissed after a yellow card was upgraded.
The Newcastle boss said: “I’m just slightly confused about the use of VAR. Initially when VAR was introduced, it was used regularly to try to get the right decision because ultimately that’s what we’re all after, we’re all after the right decision at that moment. But for some reason, I think the use has been diluted.
“All we’re asking for is just some clarity on the decisions, really, and how the officials at the time, whether it’s on the pitch or the use of VAR, have come to those decisions. That’s all we’re asking for.”
Howe’s men had taken a shock lead at Anfield when Diogo Jota levelled after referee Mike Dean had allowed play to continue with Hayden lying inside the penalty area having apparently suffered a head injury, and went on to lose 3-1 with midfielder Ryan Fraser later seeing penalty appeals waved away after he had gone down under Trent Alexander-Arnold’s challenge.
The Scotland international was the man on the receiving end once again on Sunday when he was taken out by Manchester City keeper Ederson at St James’ Park – although not in the opinion of match official Martin Atkinson – with the home side already trailing 2-0 and on their way to a 4-0 defeat.
Asked about the use of VAR, Howe said: “I don’t see it effectively intervening as much as it did in the early stages in a positive way, and I feel that’s definitely affected us in recent games, where especially looking at Ryan Fraser’s incident against Manchester City, you think VAR has to come in.
“That’s the job. If the referee doesn’t see it for whatever reason, then he gets help.
“There’s been definitely a feeling of injustice, I can sense that among the group, I think there’s been disbelief at a few things in the games that have gone against us.
“But it’s very much a case of looking to the future and just trying to educate ourselves on why certain things haven’t happened and the use of VAR, which I think has definitely been contentious as far as we’ve been concerned, definitely.”