Hughes bemoans VAR call which denied Saints at Leicester

Mark Hughes was left to rue a VAR decision as Southampton went out of the Carabao Cup at Leicester.

The Saints boss has been outspoken in his support for the introduction of the system recently, this month calling for the Premier League to emerge from the “dark ages” after his side were denied victory against Watford by a controversial refereeing decision.

On Tuesday night, Hughes had a sense of injustice once more. Southampton thought they had broken the deadlock when a weaving run from Nathan Redmond was finished off by Steven Davis late in the tie, but the goal was ruled out by VAR after Redmond was adjudged to have handled the ball.

“I am, and have been for a long time, an advocate of VAR. In recent weeks we have demanded it be introduced immediately, so we can’t complain too much,” said Hughes, whose team lost 6-5 on penalties following a goalless 90 minutes at King Power Stadium.

“But if the guys behind the screen looking at a situation slow it down to nth-degree, then something that is not deliberate in real time then looks deliberate when it is not.

“From our point of view it is a valid goal that should have stood and we should’ve won the tie. I suppose the more the system is used the better it will get.”

Following the stalemate, there were 10 successful kicks before Danny Ward saved Manolo Gabbiadini’s attempt. Nampalys Mendy then scored to put Leicester through to the last eight, where they will host Manchester City.

It was harsh on Southampton, who had the better chances to win the tie – most notably when another mazy run from Redmond resulted in an effort which hit the underside of the crossbar. Michael Obafemi then put the rebound wide from close range.

“We had the better chances in the game and should have won it comfortably. You start thinking it’s not going to be your night and that’s the way it’s panned out on the penalties,” said Hughes.

Leicester reached the quarter-final stage of the Carabao Cup last season, only to lose at home to Manchester City.

Foxes boss Claude Puel is hoping for better luck this time around.

“We lost against Manchester City last season on penalties and it was very difficult for the team,” said Puel.

“We hope it can be different this time but it will be a tough game against Manchester City. To get through is fantastic for the team and I hope we can continue.

“The most important thing is to play the game with intensity and quality. It is a fantastic feeling for the squad to continue this journey in this competition.”

Puel was a beaten finalist in 2017 when in charge of Southampton and he had some kind words for his former club after edging past them in the shoot out.

“At the end it is a fantastic feeling for us, and a lot of emotion of course. But I am sorry for the opponent because it is always tough to go out of a competition on penalties and I know a lot of people still at Southampton.”

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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