Keith Hackett suggested the VAR operator was “sleeping on the job” after Pascal Gross escape a red card following a clash with Danny Rose as Newcastle drew 0-0 with Brighton on Monday.
The former FIFA referee, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, insisted the Brighton winger had deliberately elbowed Rose in the 26th minute and should have been given his marching orders.
The referee Simon Hooper was unmoved by the incident and VAR failed to intervene during a dour contest at the AMEX Stadium.
After analysing the footage Hackett suggested the VAR had “let the referee down” after no action was taken against the German.
“He’s looked around to see where the other player is and done him,” he told Football Insider.
“It’s a deliberate act using the elbow as a weapon and he should have been sent off.
“I was surprised the VAR wasn’t used, in fact I’m disappointed because the referee has been let down badly.
“I don’t know if the VAR was sleeping on the job but these sort of things can’t happen. The player stayed on when in fact he should have gone.
“Every game is important, for this referee in particular it is vital that he establishes himself, performs and holds on to his job.
“These are not always easy to see but the VAR is in a great position to see it, if he thought that was accidental when you can see the player looking to see where the opponent is, then that’s not the type of thing we expect to see.”
Speaking after his side’s forgettable stalemate, Bruce insisted his side have done “okay” this term as they avoided a relegation fight.
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