Sport Soccer

Sunday 25 August 2019

Chris Hughton understands Neil Warnock anger after controversy at Cardiff

Brighton remain five points above fellow strugglers Cardiff.

Chris Hughton, pictured, had sympathy for Neil Warnock (/PA)
Chris Hughton, pictured, had sympathy for Neil Warnock (/PA)

By Ed Elliot, Press Association Sport

Chris Hughton would have felt the same indignation as Cardiff boss Neil Warnock had he been on the receiving end of the refereeing blunder which gifted Chelsea an offside goal.

But Brighton boss Hughton believes he would have stopped short of branding Premier League match officials the “worst in the world” and marching on to the pitch to confront them as Warnock did.

Albion benefited from the mistake to allow Cesar Azpilicueta’s late equaliser on Sunday as Cardiff dropped crucial points in the battle to avoid relegation.

The 18th-placed Bluebirds, whose sense of injustice was compounded by a stoppage-time winner from Ruben Loftus-Cheek, remain five points adrift of the Seagulls, Southampton and Burnley following the 2-1 home loss to Maurizio Sarri’s side.

“Most of your emotions are not premeditated,” said Hughton, who takes Brighton to Chelsea on Wednesday.

“But you never know how you’re going to be until a situation arises and there are going to be individuals that are more expressive or vocal than others.

“If I had been manager yesterday, would I have reacted the same way as Neil? Possibly not.

“But what I would have been feeling would have been exactly the same.”

Chelsea defender Azpilicueta was clearly offside when he headed home from close range six minutes from time at the Cardiff City Stadium.

But the infringement was missed by assistant referee Eddie Smart, leaving Warnock filled with anger and frustration.

Warnock was also unhappy with other decisions made by referee Craig Pawson during the contest.

Hughton is certain 70-year-old Warnock – who has enjoyed eight promotions during a lengthy management career – would have been far less successful without his fiery temperament.

“That’s his personality, that’s his character,” said Hughton.

“The same way when (Liverpool manager) Jurgen Klopp runs on the pitch in the local derby this season – that’s their character and that’s what has made them successful.

“I’m quite sure if anybody had to take that out of his personality some time ago he wouldn’t have been as successful as he has been.”

Despite empathising with his fellow manager, Hughton disagreed with Warnock’s assessment of refereeing in the top flight.

He also expects significant improvements with the forthcoming introduction of video assistant referee (VAR) technology.

“I certainly feel that we have a good overall standard of refereeing here,” said Hughton.

“VAR will come in next season and I think that will change the game.

“But at this moment there are still going to be decisions that are going to be tough to take, particularly with the number of cameras now that we have at stadiums and the amount of footage that’s being shown.”

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