Claude Puel insisted he would graciously accept the controversial refereeing decision that robbed his side of an early goal in the EFL Cup final – but believes it underlines the need for video technology in football.
Manolo Gabbiadini had what appeared to be a perfectly good goal ruled out for offside after just 11 minutes against Manchester United at Wembley.
Replays confirmed that Gabbiadini was onside when Cedric Soares crossed to him, but Ryan Bertrand lurking behind the Italian was offside. However, it was a big leap to say the left back was interfering with play, meaning the use of video technology would almost certainly have seen Saints take the lead.
Puel said: “I would like of course the video for the future, for this situation for example.
“For the moment in football without video and just sometimes a bad decision and against us for the team.
“It’s important to accept this but I am disappointed for the players and for the fans.
“Congratulations for the fans because I think they with their support win this.”
Gabbiadini did go on to score twice in the game – to make it five in three matches since his £14m January move to St Mary’s – as Saints fought back from 2-0 down only to lose to a cruel late goal.
When asked whether that early goal would have changed the game had it been allowed, Puel replied: “It is always better to win 1-0 of course because it was a very good start on the game with many chances.
“We need a good reward to score at this moment and the first free kick, the first time, is the first goal.
“The second situation we took a second goal. To shoot, two goals, with all this quality on the pitch was very hard.
“We kept the good attitude and spirit to stay on the game just before the half.
“It was fantastic for the players and to equalise gives also the good emotions and good feeling to continue this work.
“It’s very hard when we see this game to lose this game but it’s football.
“I said before the game of course we were underdogs but now I think we can say it was a good thing to see it was possible to win when we saw this game.”
Puel now has the task of trying to lift his squad for the remaining 13 Premier League games between now and the end of the season.
“We will see this (the reaction) tomorrow and the next day,” said a rueful Puel.
“I think for the next games of course it is difficult but it will be difficult with a good result or a bad result.
“Now we got to play in the Premier League with games every two weeks because we cannot play against Arsenal and Manchester United.
“We played since the beginning of the season every two or three days and now we stay every two weeks without a game and this is difficult for the team to keep good concentration.
“We would like to continue with this good level and quality. It will be a good challenge to stay with concentration and it will be important for us.”