Marc Cucurella: Chelsea defender says Cristian Romero’s hair pull was referee and VAR error

Marc Cucurella and Cristian Romero in close quarters during the clash at Stamford Bridge

Chelsea defender Marc Cucurella says the pull on Cristian Romero’s hair was “clear as day”, calling the decision not to punish the Tottenham defender a “ref and VAR error”.

Last weekend’s Super Sunday clash between Chelsea and Tottenham descended into drama as Romero was not booked for pulling Cucurella’s hair as Spurs attacked for a corner. From the resulting phase of play, Harry Kane headed home a late corner to draw 2-2, with managers Antonio Conte and Thomas Tuchel facing off at full-time.

Chelsea manager Tuchel says Tottenham’s two goals last weekend should not have stood and Cucurella believes referee Anthony Taylor and VAR Mike Dean made a mistake not to punish the Tottenham defense.

“For me it’s too clear in the game, on the pitch,” Cucurella said in a press conference when asked about the incident. “I didn’t see it on TV, the video. I think it’s very clear, but that’s a mistake by the referee or the VAR.

Romero was seen pulling Cucurella’s hair just moments before Tottenham’s equaliser

“Sometimes the referees make good decisions, sometimes they don’t. That’s not my problem. Maybe we have to work harder not to concede that goal in the last minute.

“I saw [VAR] looking for a red card in the stadium. It’s clear to me. At this point, I don’t know what happened.”

Cucurella also joked that his hair is fine and that he would never consider changing his style, adding that there were no hard feelings towards Tottenham defender Romero.

Marc Cucurella in action for Chelsea
Cucurella joked that she won’t be changing her hair style after the incident

“I have no problem with him,” added the Spaniard. “It’s just one game action, but maybe it was important because it changed the final result.

“For me it’s no problem. I spoke to him before the game [Romero]. I have no problem. It’s just an in-game action. Perhaps an important action because it changes the final result. We have another chance [to beat Spurs].”

Rosemary to avoid retrospective action for hair pulling

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Former Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher gives his expert analysis of the key moments from Chelsea’s 2-2 draw with Tottenham at Stamford Bridge

Romero will not face retrospective action for the incident at the end of Sunday’s game, as pulling a player’s hair is not considered an offense under the laws of football.

Retrospective action can only be taken when both the match and video referees fail to detect an incident on the pitch in real time and do not mention it in their post-match report.

Had referee Taylor spotted the incident in real time, the correct course would have been a Chelsea free-kick, leaving Spurs unable to score from that specific attack.

Unlike rugby, football’s laws do not specifically mention hair pulling. Officials must decide whether the extent of the hair pulling is forceful enough to be considered violent conduct.

If not, it would likely be considered unsporting behavior and result in a yellow card.

Tuchel: Taylor should not referee Chelsea games | ‘Where was the VAR?’

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Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel says his full-time altercation with Antonio Conte was the result of great emotion.

In his post-match press conference, Tuchel felt that referee Taylor should no longer be able to referee Chelsea games after Sunday’s performance.

In relation to Tottenham’s first goal, Chelsea felt there was a foul on Kai Havertz in the build-up. Taylor disagreed.

Referees have said there is a higher threshold for fouls this season to help with the flow of games. However, VAR did not look at the foul properly because it was not deemed to be in the same attacking phase as Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s goal.

Possible interference was noted by Richarlison, who was in an offside position when Hojbjerg hit the ball. It was decided that his position had no negative impact on the position of goalkeeper Edouard Mendy.

Asked if Taylor should never referee Chelsea again, the German replied: “Maybe it would be better.

Thomas Tuchel argues with Antonio Conte after the final whistle at Stamford Bridge
Thomas Tuchel argues with Antonio Conte after the final whistle at Stamford Bridge

“But honestly, we also have VAR to help make the right decisions. Since when can you pull players’ hair? Since when is that? If he doesn’t see it, I don’t blame him.

“I didn’t see it, but in the VAR we have people who check it. How can it not be a free kick and how can it not be a red card? How?

“That has nothing to do with the referee in this case. If he doesn’t see something, that’s why we have people to check for a foul.”

Since the match, Tuchel and Conte have been accused of breaching the FA’s E3 rule. It is alleged that the behavior of both managers was inappropriate after the end of the game, with the pair until Thursday to give their respective responses.

Meanwhile, VAR official Dean has not been selected for a Premier League game this weekend following last Sunday’s controversial finish. Referee Taylor, meanwhile, will take charge of West Ham vs Brighton on Sunday.

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