Wolves-Southampton: Ex-ref demands more courage after penalty decision

By Keith Hackett

18th Jan, 2022 | 9:30am

Ex-Fifa official urges more 'courage' as controversial Wolves-Southampton decision analysed

Keith Hackett has praised VAR official Rob Jones for awarding Wolves a deserved penalty during their 3-1 victory over Southampton on Saturday (15 January).

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Premier League referee urged more “courage” from Michael Salisbury – who was taking charge of just his second top-flight game.

As shown on BBC’s Match of the Day (15 January, 46:43), Southampton’s Jan Bednarek appeared to bring down Wolves star Rayan Ait-Nouri after making an initial slight contact with the ball.

Salisbury, who had a perfect vantage point for the incident, pointed for a corner to the home side.

However, VAR official Jones asked the man in the middle to have another look at the incident pitchside – with a penalty ultimately awarded.

Hackett insisted getting the ball first doesn’t necessarily have a bearing on the outcome.

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“I think we’ve got to recognise that getting the ball first isn’t necessarily the criteria,” he said, after analysing the footage with Football Insider‘s Connor Whitley.

“That’s where a lot of people get confused.

“Bednarek took the player out, and I think that’s where Rob Jones came in and was correct.

“I would have liked Michael Salisbury, who was in a great position and another new referee, to have the courage to award the decision. He hesitated, and that doesn’t sell the decision.

“He gave a corner kick after a big wait.”

Salisbury made the step up to the Premier League in November.

His first match in the top flight was Aston Villa’s 2-1 win over Crystal Palace.

Wolves moved to within just six points of a Champions League berth following their victory at Molineux on Saturday.

The Midlands club face Brentford on Saturday.

In other news, Hackett demands VAR overhaul after analysing another Wolves-Southampton controversy.