Slaven Bilic was left ruing refereeing decisions and VAR calls as West Brom’s three-goal lead in their clash with Chelsea was wiped out in the second half. After a Callum Robinson brace and a Kyle Bartley volley in the first half, the Blues came roaring back in the second and snatched a stoppage time equaliser through Tammy Abraham. On second viewing, Chelsea attacker Kai Havertz appeared to handle the ball in the build up to the leveller, and though VAR did run a check, the goal was allowed to stand. This was 20 minutes after Darnell Furlong had seemingly been hurled over in the build up to Callum Hudson-Odoi’s strike, which gave Chelsea real hope that they might leave The Hawthorns with a share of the points.
Slaven Bilic said “Second goal, yes – okay, for me that’s a foul. He’s been pulled by their player, That’s a foul for me, but okay – the referee didn’t give it and they score the second one. The third goal is very difficult to accept. For me, it’s so clear I don’t even want to talk about it. It’s obvious – it’s not maybe, or possibly, it’s handball. End of story, full stop. How can someone say it’s not handball? It was a great game, first of all. We played the way we wanted – we played at our maximum. We played the way I asked the boys to play, Plan A in these kind of games when you are playing teams like Chelsea, plan A can’t be that you’re going to outclass them. You have to outrun them, be focused and determined, have the right mentality and awareness. Your concentration – don’t give them anything, and make them make mistakes and punish them. That was exactly what we were doing in the first 45 minutes. 3-0…we knew second half was going to be hard for us. We counted that when we had the ball we were going to stretch them more because they lost their shape because they had to score many goals. We did that – not enough, but we did that. Offensively, we created a couple of situations where with a bit of better finishing we could’ve scored the fourth one, but we knew we were going to have to defend as a team quite deep. We wanted to limit them to shots outside the box, and limit them on crosses. With three centre backs, we’re good at that. That was what was happening. Our only mistake was their second goal – too easy, one two. Strike from their player. Third goal is very hard to accept.”
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