AC Milan coach Vincenzo Montella asked in dismay if football was now being played on the pitch or on television after his side suffered from another controversial ruling on Sunday involving video replay technology.
Montella was left annoyed and baffled about how the technology, being trialled by Serie A, resulted in Milan’s captain Leonardo Bonucci being sent off for elbowing in the 25th minute following a tussle at a Milan corner.
Genoa went on to hold Milan to a 0-0 draw, leaving the big-spending seven-times European champions to slump into 11th place with 13 points.
The referee had brandished the red card after consulting the video assistant referee (VAR) but Montella, whose job is on the line after a series of poor results, was adamant that the incident looked worse on television than it was.
“This was a television sending off, not a pitch sending off,” Montella told reporters. “I need to understand what sort of football we have today, if we are playing on television or on the pitch. Bonucci was just trying to shake off his marker. I used to do it myself when I was a player.”
Montella added that nothing was given in a similar clash between Genoa’s Luca Rigoni and Milan’s Giacomo Bonaventura and also claimed that VAR could have been used to award his team two penalties.
“Why wasn’t the clash between Rigoni and Bonaventura evaluated by the VAR?” he said. “Bonucci yes, Bonaventura no. Please help me to understand.”
He added: “I was in favour of VAR but now I am losing patience.” The VAR system is being used in a number of competitions on a trial basis before football’s rule-making body IFAB decides next year whether to approve its use on a permanent basis.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino has already said he wants to use it at the 2018 World Cup.
Serie A could not immediately reached for comment and its referees do not speak to the media after matches.
Despite the pressure, Montella looked remarkably relaxed as he did his round of television interviews after the game.
“Over the last few Serie A games, more or less everything has happened,” he said.
“It was the third really good performance, yet we have taken home only one point so it can’t go on like this forever. Usually this type of bad luck happens over the course of a year, but it’s happening match after match with us.”
Discussing his future, he said: “I feel like the coach of Milan and I’m happy about that. My job is to start working for the next match. I feel I have the backing of the club.”