Gary Neville slams ‘absolutely HORRIFIC’ tackle made by Leicester’s Ayoze Perez on West Ham goalscorer Pablo Fornals… as VAR intervenes to hand the first red card of the new Premier League season to the Spanish forward
- Leicester’s Ayoze Perez was sent off for a tackle on West Ham’s Pablo Fornals
- Michael Oliver checked VAR before giving Perez the first red card of the season
- Gary Neville described the challenge by the Foxes star as ‘absolutely horrific’
- VAR has been criticised in recent days for not punishing challenges enough
Gary Neville slammed the ‘absolutely horrific’ challenge made by Leicester’s Ayoze Perez on West Ham’s Pablo Fornals that saw the former sent off on Monday night.
The Leicester star received the first red card of this Premier League season by catching Fornals high on the ankle after he took a heavy touch deep in his own half. Referee Michael Oliver did not spot the challenge but did present a red card after VAR called him over to check the tackle on the pitchside monitor.
Leicester’s players, including captain Kasper Schmeichel and midfield star James Maddison, were livid with referee Oliver for the red card but both sets of the players and the fans were shown the tackle on the big screen, leading to a large groan from the crowd.
Gary Neville slammed an awful tackle by Ayoze Perez (left) on Pablo Fornals (right) on Monday
Referee Michael Oliver (right) sent off Leicester’s Perez for the first red card of the season
The top-flight’s video technology has been criticised in recent days over not punishing heavy tackles in as the league bids to be less over-fastidious on tackles compared to last year, but Neville agrees that the right decision was made at the London Stadium on Monday.
Speaking about the tackle, Neville told Sky Sports: ‘The touch (from Perez) doesn’t go where he wants it to go. He knows there’s a player coming towards him. As you watch it, it’s horrific, absolutely horrific.
‘We’ve talked the lighter touch of VAR but no professional, VAR, pundit or fan wants to see that type of challenge.
Neville described the challenge as ‘absolutely horrific’ and it warranted a sending off
‘You heard the groan in the stadium (after seeing the replay) which was interesting and I know the Leicester players were whinging but if that was against one of their players, they would want the opposition player sent off.’
Perez was sent off after West Ham took the lead at the London Stadium, with Fornals sweeping home Said Benhrama’s cross from the left to grant Hammers fans with a goalscoring return to their east London ground.
Certain refereeing decisions were slammed by top-flight bosses over the weekend. Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp criticised Mike Dean for not punishing Burnley strikers Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood enough for aerial challenges on his defenders.
Leicester players were livid with referee Oliver for sending off Perez on Monday evening
‘You always have to be ready for a proper fight but today was really tough. You saw these challenges with (Ashley) Barnes, (Chris) Wood, on Virgil and Joel.’ said Klopp.
‘I’m not 100 per cent sure if we’re going in the right direction with these decisions. It’s not like the football we want to see. We want to avoid these situations.
‘There’s no fouls any more? I’m not sure. I like all decisions in favour of the offensive team like offside but we have to stick to protect the players. We can’t deny that. Watch wrestling if you like those things.’
VAR was criticised by some managers last week for not punishing enough heavy challenges
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp compared some of Burnley’s tackling to wrestling on Saturday
Meanwhile, Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer compared a challenge by Southampton’s Jack Stephens on Bruno Fernandes to one made on a rugby pitch as his side drew 1-1 on the south coast on Sunday.
Solskjaer said: ‘We should do better. If you don’t get a foul, we should make sure we block the shot, put your body on the line and make sure they don’t get a strike on target.
‘That being said, it’s a foul. He goes straight through Bruno with his own hip and arm across him.
Man United’s Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says Jack Stephens rugby tackled Bruno Fernandes (right)
‘I’m a bit… not worried, but we have to look at it because we can’t go from one extreme – volleyball or basketball from last year – and go into rugby now.
‘I liked the more lenient way: it’s more men’s football but still it’s basically a foul. You can see early on, with the fans, it gets the crowd going when you fly into tackles and we did suffer a few tackles. That was part of their thinking early on, it looked like.’
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