Date: 9th January 2018 at 2:45pm
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Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson has said he has no issues with the VAR system following last night’s FA Cup loss to Brighton.

Heading to the Amex Stadium for the third round tie, Brighton took the lead but Bakary Sako had us back on level terms with just over 20 minutes left to play. The controversial point came as former striker Glenn Murray bundled in the winner with a few minutes remaining as from some angles it looked like his hand, even though replays showed it was his knee.

With some confusion at the point the referee appeared to have a chat, presumably with the Video Assistant Referee operators but he didn’t go for a look himself.

Speaking to Crystal Palace FC as he met with the media for his post game press conference, the second goal certainly figured in his questioning.

‘We had suspicions at first and those were fuelled by the actions of people close by who seemed to be incensed, and to be fair from our angle it looked to all the world he`s guided the ball in with his arm, but I have to congratulate the system. When you watch it lots of times like they did from different angles, I think it would have been very harsh if it was disallowed. There`s still a slight thought that it brushed off his thigh and come off his arm into the goal, but to be honest if it had been my player scoring that goal then I would have been disappointed to see it disallowed.’

Adding.

‘I think it was a genuine goal and the referee on the field was helped by the fact that he had Neil Swarbrick in the VAR studio making a judgement that could help him out, so I have no complaints about it at all.’

Speaking about VAR in general and what he’d been told ahead of the game about how it would operate, he went on to explain.

‘I was led to believe from a very good briefing from Mike Riley that unless they really feel that the referee needs to look at the decision again, it`s not going to be brought down to the sidelines. They will watch it and communicate verbally with the referee, and there was a brief pause and I was under the impression that Marriner and Swarbrick were talking. Andre must`ve been asking the question ‘was it handball?` and Neil who`s seen better angles has said no. I accepted it. I had a few spiteful comments to the referees on my way in but that`s just my nature I`m afraid! I regret them now.’

Turning his thoughts to the match itself, he acknowledged it wasn’t great to watch.

‘In the first half it wasn`t very good and in the second half it was better, and there was a wonderful goal from Sako after we started the second half brightly. We lost it for a spell where the game didn`t have any great direction, but they got back into in the second half but it seemed to me that we were heading towards a draw when the goal was scored.’

With Sako leading the line, Hodgson was pleased with his performance.

‘He`s proven that he`s capable of a regular starting place. He faces competition from Benteke and Zaha but it`s good to know that he`s there as well. We`re going to need him; our squad is so unbelievably thin and it`s been thinned even more.’

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