Express & Star

Gary O'Neil gives damning verdict on level of Premier League officials

Wolves boss Gary O’Neil has challenged Premier League officials to improve next season and branded the current level as ‘unacceptable’.

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Wolves have been on the receiving end of several contentious decisions and VAR interventions this season and after Nelson Semedo was sent off against Liverpool, the head coach was again unhappy.

After the club triggered a vote on potentially scrapping VAR, O’Neil has called on improvements for next season if it does stay,

He said: “There must be real confusion for everybody and I guess that runs into the officials as well.

“This ‘clear and obvious’ threshold that it needs to meet – it’s so hard to know. I wouldn’t know if I was sat there watching it.

“I would imagine it’s tough but they have to get better at it. This season has been completely unacceptable from an officiating point of view. Terrible.

“We used to moan about referees when I played and you always had a gripe, but you knew it was live and things were moving quickly.

“For them not to be able to show the intelligence to know that watching it in slow motion means it will probably look worse.

“Also take into account where the referee is and his view and whether they need to get involved.

“I thought VAR was brought in for things like Thierry Henry’s handball against Ireland, when the referee blatantly missed something.

“Not for Nelson standing on someone’s foot and whether it’s deemed slightly reckless or dangerous, or not. I’m really disappointed with the officiating this season, I think it’s been really poor.

“I’ll be accused of moaning about it constantly because unfortunately it seems to happen to us quite a lot and I get asked about it a lot.

“I’m not moaning. I accept our points tally and accept I’m responsible for it. 46 is not bad.

“But for the whole league, not just Wolves, the level of officiating has to be better.”

Meanwhile, O’Neil says Pedro Neto showed Wolves what they have been missing as he made his injury comeback on Sunday.

“Look at Pedro, when he comes on for 15 minutes and you see what you’ve missed since basically October,” O’Neil added. “What a difference he would have made to us if we’d have had him for longer.

“He wanted to get back and he did.

“You get used to not having him. I got used to it for so long now and even when he was back we were managing him a little bit.

“So it feels like Newcastle at home since I’ve seen the real free-flowing Pedro, and I started to see it in training this week.

“It shows you what we’ve missed as a group, but fair play to the players to fight like they did in the second half.”