By Keith Hackett

4th Oct, 2021 | 6:00pm

Hackett: Referee made 'clear error' as Ward-Prowse red card in Southampton clash dissected

Martin Atkinson should have sent off Southampton skipper James Ward-Prowse without the need for VAR intervention last Saturday.

So says ex-Premier League referee Keith Hackett, speaking exclusively to Football Insider after the Saints were beaten 3-1 by Chelsea on 2 October.

The score was 1-1 after 77 minutes when Ward-Prowse, who scored from the spot 15 minutes earlier, was sent off for a studs-up lunge on Jorginho.

Atkinson originally deemed the challenge only a yellow card, but it was upgraded to red when VAR official Mike Dean suggested it be reviewed.

Chelsea went on to win 3-1 as Timo Werner scored his second of the match and Ben Chilwell got his first of the season.

Hackett was unimpressed that Atkinson failed to immediately send off Ward-Prowse and instead had to be”pulled out of the mire” by Dean.

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“This was a clear red card, no doubt about that whatsoever,” he told Football Insider correspondent Connor Whitely.

“He issued a yellow and then VAR came in and helped him out. The VAR was Mike Dean. So Mike Dean, in a VAR situation, has pulled him out of the mire.

“It is good that VAR was doing its job, and that is what we want it to do. So there can be no complaints in that regard.

“But it was a clear red card and a clear error on his part. Martin Atkinson should have given him the red there and then.”

In other news, Hackett claims governing body will take action against Tuchel after analysing Chelsea-Southampton footage.