Premier League
SouthamptonSouthampton1WolvesWolverhampton Wanderers2

Southampton 1-2 Wolves: Ralph Hasenhuttl says VAR is 'destroying the game'

By Saj ChowdhuryBBC Sport
Pedro Neto (right)
Pedro Neto (right) has scored in each of his three Premier League appearances against Southampton

Manager Ralph Hasenhuttl said video refereeing was "destroying the game" as he reacted to a controversial penalty decision during Southampton's defeat by Wolves.

Danny Ings scored in the 25th minute to give Saints a 1-0 lead, and Hasenhuttl's men comfortably held the advantage until Wolves were awarded a second-half penalty when Ryan Bertrand blocked Nelson Semedo's attempted cross with his arm.

The point of contention was whether the left-back's arm was in an unnatural position. The VAR team, led by official Martin Atkinson, saw no need for the on-field referee to reconsider his initial decision to award the kick.

Ruben Neves scored from the spot before Pedro Neto produced a dazzling winner for the visitors.

"I am normally a big fan, and if the VAR followed the rules everything would be easy," said Hasenhuttl, whose side slumped to their sixth successive Premier League loss.

"I don't know what Mr Atkinson saw today, but they are not doing a good job at the moment. It is that simple. VAR is destroying the game, that's right.

"The referee explained that the arm was stretched away from the body. But when the ball hit the arm it stretched the arm away for me."

The Austrian manager then questioned an incident at the other end of the pitch when a cross struck the arm of Wolves' Leander Dendoncker, which referee Graham Scott and the VAR team this time declared legal.

He added: "I haven't spoken with the VAR because he isn't at the stadium so we can't.

"This is the issue: the games aren't decided in the stadium any more, the games are decided at Stockley Park. This is not so good for the game I don't think."

The match was a tale of two halves, with the visitors improving markedly as an attacking force after the break.

The home side controlled the opening period and took the lead when Ings scored with a brilliant volley after he was picked out by Stuart Armstrong.

The game turned seven minutes into the second half when Neves converted from the spot. Wolves, buoyed by the goal, went on the front foot and took the lead when Neto jinked his way past Jannik Vestergaard before threading his angled strike between Jan Bednarek and keeper Alex McCarthy.

Saints pressed for an equaliser but were thwarted by Wolves stopper Rui Patricio who made a double save from James Ward-Prowse and Che Adams.

Wolves go 12th in the Premier League table, a point and a place above Southampton.

Saints undone by controversial decision

Handball decisions hard to take - Hasenhuttl

Contentious decisions irk any team, but it prickles that little bit more when you are desperate for a point, never mind a win.

In the split second Bertrand turned his back to avoid getting struck in the face by Semedo's cross, he cannot have imagined that referee Scott would point to the spot.

Hasenhuttl's side never recovered from that as the frailties in defence that have cost them so dearly in the recent past resurfaced. As brilliant as Neto's strike was, could Vestergaard have blocked his run? And should McCarthy have been beaten from such a tight angle?

It is a shame for the Saints because early in the match they displayed the kind of dominance that saw them beat Wolves in the FA Cup on Thursday.

Ings along with Stuart Armstrong and Nathan Redmond looked formidable in attack and his opening strike was typical of him - instinctive and creative. It was his 30th Premier League goal since the start of last season, and only Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (36), Leicester's Jamie Vardy (35) and Tottenham's Harry Kane (31) have managed as many.

The forward's progress has been blighted by injuries in recent years, but if he stays fit Hasenhuttl's side should be able to escape this rut.

Nuno tactical change pays dividends

Nuno praises 'unpredictable' Neto and Traore

This result should settle Wolves fans' nerves. That is now seven points in the past three league games, which perhaps proves to the team they can still churn out wins without leading striker Raul Jimenez, who continues his rehabilitation following his head injury.

The visitors sat too deep in the first half but manager Nuno Espirito Santo tweaked the system for the second period, with wide men Semedo and Adama Traore beginning to take more risks.

Neves has arguably been Nuno's most valuable player in attack in the absence of Jimenez, and took his penalty confidently, while 20-year-old Neto once again highlighted why he is one of the brightest prospects in football with his picture-book goal.

'This is a little too much for me to take' - reaction

Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl speaking to Amazon Prime: "I think we shouldn't discuss our run. We know what happened today. It is hard to explain, hard to explain this defeat.

"Until their penalty they had no chances at goal. When you concede that penalty, I just don't understand.

"This is a little too much for me to take, to be honest."

Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo speaking to Amazon Prime: "It was a very tough game. Both halves were very tough. In the first half Southampton managed the game. In the second half we were on the front foot, scored two goals and then defended very well.

"It was a good move before the penalty; afterwards it's the decision of the referee.

"I don't agree that the first half was disappointing. It was a tough game. Southampton are a good team."

Portuguese players' Premier League prowess - stats

  • Southampton have lost six consecutive league matches for the first time in their history.
  • Since the start of 2018-19, Wolves have won 10 Premier League matches after going behind, the third-most of any side after Liverpool (14) and Manchester United (12).
  • Southampton have led in each of their past four Premier League matches against Wolves but have not won any of them (D2 L2).
  • Wolves have not opened the scoring in any of their past 14 Premier League games; only Manchester City in 1995 (16 games) have gone on a longer run without scoring first in a match.
  • Portuguese players have now scored more Premier League goals for Wolves than players from any other nation (47), outscoring Englishmen by one goal.
  • Neto has been directly involved in nine Premier League goals this season (five goals and four assists), the most of any under-21 player in the competition this campaign.

What's next?

Wolves host Leeds on Friday (20:00 GMT) and Southampton host Chelsea on Saturday (12:30 GMT).

Player of the match

Rúben NevesRúben Neves

with an average of 7.93


  1. Squad number9Player nameIngs
    Average rating


  2. Squad number17Player nameS Armstrong
    Average rating


  3. Squad number8Player nameWard-Prowse
    Average rating


  4. Squad number19Player nameMinamino
    Average rating


  5. Squad number2Player nameWalker-Peters
    Average rating


  6. Squad number4Player nameVestergaard
    Average rating


  7. Squad number6Player nameOriol Romeu
    Average rating


  8. Squad number11Player nameRedmond
    Average rating


  9. Squad number35Player nameBednarek
    Average rating


  10. Squad number3Player nameBertrand
    Average rating


  11. Squad number10Player nameAdams
    Average rating


  12. Squad number1Player nameMcCarthy
    Average rating


  13. Squad number22Player nameSalisu
    Average rating


  14. Squad number12Player nameDjenepo
    Average rating


Wolverhampton Wanderers

  1. Squad number8Player nameRúben Neves
    Average rating


  2. Squad number11Player nameRui Patrício
    Average rating


  3. Squad number7Player namePedro Neto
    Average rating


  4. Squad number19Player nameJonny
    Average rating


  5. Squad number16Player nameCoady
    Average rating


  6. Squad number37Player nameTraoré
    Average rating


  7. Squad number28Player nameJoão Moutinho
    Average rating


  8. Squad number27Player nameSaïss
    Average rating


  9. Squad number5Player nameMarçal
    Average rating


  10. Squad number32Player nameDendoncker
    Average rating


  11. Squad number22Player nameNélson Semedo
    Average rating


  12. Squad number12Player nameWillian José
    Average rating


  13. Squad number49Player nameKilman
    Average rating


  14. Squad number17Player nameFábio Silva
    Average rating




Formation 4-4-2

  • 1McCarthy
  • 2Walker-PetersSubstituted forSalisuat 72'minutes
  • 35BednarekBooked at 61mins
  • 4Vestergaard
  • 3Bertrand
  • 17S ArmstrongSubstituted forAdamsat 69'minutes
  • 8Ward-Prowse
  • 6RomeuBooked at 17mins
  • 19MinaminoSubstituted forDjenepoat 62'minutes
  • 9Ings
  • 11Redmond


  • 5Stephens
  • 10Adams
  • 12Djenepo
  • 22Salisu
  • 23Tella
  • 40N'Lundulu
  • 44Forster
  • 65Watts
  • 72Chauke


Formation 3-4-3

  • 11Rui Patrício
  • 32Dendoncker
  • 16Coady
  • 27SaïssBooked at 54mins
  • 22Nélson Semedo
  • 8Neves
  • 28João Moutinho
  • 19Castro OttoSubstituted forMarçalat 69'minutes
  • 37Traoré
  • 12Da SilvaSubstituted forFábio Silvaat 89'minutes
  • 7NetoBooked at 90minsSubstituted forKilmanat 90+3'minutes


  • 2Hoever
  • 3Aït-Nouri
  • 5Marçal
  • 17Fábio Silva
  • 18Gibbs-White
  • 20Vitinha
  • 21Ruddy
  • 49Kilman
  • 54Otasowie
Graham Scott

Match Stats

Home TeamSouthamptonAway TeamWolves
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Southampton 1, Wolverhampton Wanderers 2.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Southampton 1, Wolverhampton Wanderers 2.

  3. Substitution

    Substitution, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Maximilian Kilman replaces Pedro Neto.

  4. Post update

    Offside, Southampton. Jan Bednarek tries a through ball, but Danny Ings is caught offside.

  5. Booking

    Pedro Neto (Wolverhampton Wanderers) is shown the yellow card.

  6. Post update

    Oriol Romeu (Southampton) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  7. Post update

    Foul by Pedro Neto (Wolverhampton Wanderers).

  8. Post update

    Oriol Romeu (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  9. Post update

    Foul by João Moutinho (Wolverhampton Wanderers).

  10. Substitution

    Substitution, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Fábio Silva replaces Willian José.

  11. Post update

    Oriol Romeu (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  12. Post update

    Foul by Marçal (Wolverhampton Wanderers).

  13. Post update

    Attempt missed. Che Adams (Southampton) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Nathan Redmond with a cross.

  14. Post update

    Foul by Ryan Bertrand (Southampton).

  15. Post update

    Nélson Semedo (Wolverhampton Wanderers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  16. Post update

    Offside, Southampton. James Ward-Prowse tries a through ball, but Che Adams is caught offside.

  17. Post update

    Attempt saved. James Ward-Prowse (Southampton) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner.

  18. Post update

    Corner, Southampton. Conceded by Leander Dendoncker.

  19. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Adama Traoré (Wolverhampton Wanderers) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

  20. Post update

    Corner, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Conceded by Oriol Romeu.

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