SOUTHAMPTON, England (Reuters) - Southampton striker Charlie Austin launched a scathing attack on the referee after his goal was disallowed in Saturday’s 1-1 Premier League draw with Watford.
“It’s ridiculous, they shouldn’t be in the game,” Austin told Sky Sports after referee Simon Cooper, who was officiating only his second Premier League game of the season, ruled that the shot had gone in off Maya Yoshida, who was in an offside position, while Southampton were leading 1-0.
“We scored a perfectly good goal that was ruled out for offside,” said Austin. “The officials cost us two points. They said it was offside; that is a joke.”
Southampton had to settle for a point after Jose Holebas netted a late equaliser to cancel out an early strike from Manolo Gabbiadini. The south-coast club have now gone eight games without a win and sit one place above the bottom three.
Austin said the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system needed to be brought into the Premier League to ensure correct decisions were being made.
“People go on about VAR; they clearly need help. If this is the best, most-watched league in the world then give them all the help they need. It is a joke.
“We feel like we have been let down. We started well, worked hard to be up 1-0 at halftime and we stuck to the plan. We didn’t get beat but we should have come away with three points going into the international break... I’m angry as we should have won 2-0.”
Southampton manager Mark Hughes agreed with Austin, telling the BBC: “It is not good enough, the performance of the referee.
“All we want in a game is the key match-defining moments to be correct. It is a skill, a talent and a referee has to have that or they won’t be at this level. The ref today is a little inexperienced. “At 2-0 the game is over. It is unfortunate and a bad mistake. He admitted it on the pitch. I mean, for goodness sake, he needed a bit of help. These decisions affect what we are trying to do here.”
Editing by Clare Fallon