Claude Puel calls for video technology after Manolo Gabbiadini goal wrongly chalked off at Wembley
To appreciate the magnitude of what Manolo Gabbiadini should have achieved – if football had not been so backward in its approach to video technology – you simply had to look at the rarefied list of hat-tricks in a major Wembley cup final. It has happened just once in the FA Cup – Stan Mortenson in 1953 – and never previously in the League Cup. The only other was Sir Geoff Hurst in the 1966 World Cup final.
Yet it was not Gabbiadini’s own personal frustration that fuelled Southampton’s burning sense of injustice; just the belief that a 41-year wait for silverware might well have ended had referee Andre Marriner – and his assistant Stuart Burt – not ruled out Gabbiadini’s clearly onside ‘goal’ in the 11th minute.
“At this level, that assistant has to get that right; he can’t even see Gabbiadini,” said Matthew Le Tissier, a pundit on Sky Sports. “The referee should go over and speak to him. That changes the complexion of the game. It is disgusting.”
Even Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho graciously used the word “unfair” in reference to Southampton’s defeat and it was left to Claude Puel to outline a desire for video technology to be introduced for decisions beyond just goal-line incidents.
“I would like, of course, video in the future for these situations,” said the Southampton manager. “It’s very hard when we see this game to lose. It was cruel.”
The issue of video technology will again be on the agenda this week at a Wembley meeting of football’s rule-makers, the International Football Association Board, and trials are already under way for a system that could be introduced by the time of next year’s World Cup.
Unofficial tests have even been conducted this season in the Premier League. These involve two officials, known as video assistant referees, watching live feeds of games and practising how they might intervene were they in communication with the match referee.
The Premier League could also progress to live trials next season. Fifa has introduced trials in international fixtures, while further experiments are planned during the round of friendlies next month.
It all represents steady progress – and Fifa president Gianni Infantino has been driving the push for change – but that will be of limited consolation to Southampton.
“We kept the good attitude and spirit to stay in the game after going 2-0 down,” said Puel. “We played since the beginning of the season every two or three days. We played to a strong and fantastic level. It’s important now to continue this work, to put away this disappointment and come back in the Premier League with this strength and this quality.”