AC Milan coach Vincenzo Montella says he is “sick” of video assistant referees (VAR) after Leonardo Bonucci was sent off as a result of a video replay being viewed during his side’s goalless draw with Genoa on Sunday.
Referee Piero Giacomelli had not seen an incident involving Bonucci and Genoa’s Aleandro Rosi, with both players grappling as they went for the ball.
However, VAR Paolo Mazzoleni called Giacomelli to say that Bonucci had elbowed his opponent and should be sent off, and with less than 25 minutes on the clock, the referee showed the Milan captain a red card.
“I want to know if we’re in a TV world or on the football field,” Montella told Sky Sport Italia. “I am in favour of the VAR, but I’m getting sick of it. We need to know whether decisions are being made because people on TV are talking about it, or because of what is happening on the field.”
Bonucci will now be banned for Milan’s midweek clash with Chievo and their trip to his former club Juventus at the weekend, with a two-game minimum suspension applied for elbowing incidents.
Montella added: “People use their elbows to make room for themselves all the time — I used to do it too, but I was never sent off because I was so small. I’d never be able to reach somebody’s face.
“As far as I am concerned, this red card was decided by the TV and if that is the case, then there were two penalties for Milan too. Go and ask the VAR and Giacomelli, who was very attentive today. My career is on the line here and if he gives me a penalty, my career changes.”
The draw ended Milan’s run of three consecutive defeats, but with the gap to Serie A’s top four growing to nine points, Montella is coming under increased pressure.
However, the Milan boss says he still enjoys the club’s support after a performance which he felt suggested, particularly following Bonucci’s dismissal, that his players are backing him.
“I feel the club are close to me and I saw the spirit of this side,” he said. “I’ve got plenty of energy and I am optimistic because I saw an excellent performance, and I am no visionary. This effort [with 10 men] has united us. I saw a positive spirit which will also help us to get results again.
“We need to pull together even tighter as a club. We are getting there and something is being born.”
Suso also backed his coach, telling Sky Italia that “we need to get out of this together and be united.”
He added: “This team is better than it was last year and Montella is important for us. There’s still a long way to go. The coach is just trying to find what works best for us. We could hear the fans behind us during the match and they helped us — they were perfect and I thank them.”
Ben Gladwell reports on Serie A, the Italian national team and the Bundesliga for ESPN FC, UEFA and the Press Association. @UEFAcomBenG.