Struggling Southampton rue VAR decisions after Aston Villa defeat
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SOUTHAMPTON - Southampton were left rueing two VAR decisions as they lost 1-0 at home to Aston Villa on Saturday, but midfielder James Ward-Prowse refused to blame the officiating for their third straight defeat.
The Saints were denied a penalty by the Video Assistant Referee in the first half for an apparent handball by Matty Cash and they had a Danny Ings goal ruled out in second-half stoppage time as Villa held on to win.
"We have not had time to look at them back but VAR is there for a reason and gives the correct answer, but we can't focus on that," Ward-Prowse told BBC Sport.
"They had one chance and scored one good goal. We could have had a lot more in the game. It is one of those things, hopefully we will get one to go our way soon," he added.
Having seen his side struggle to score once again, Saints boss Ralf Hasenhuettl was more critical.
🗣 "In such a situation it can be decisive for the game."— Southampton FC (@SouthamptonFC) January 30, 2021
The boss reacts to a tough night for #SaintsFC:
"It’s not nice to lose like this. But you know football is not always fair. Today we did not deserve to lose," he told the BBC.
"They told me the penalty decision in the first half was a goal if it did not hit the hand. These moments can be decisive if you go 1-0 up," Hasenhuettl added.
Villa boss Dean Smith was a lot happier as his side bounced back from a poor showing in their midweek 3-2 defeat to Burnley to win a tough away game thanks to Ross Barkley's first-half header.
"We didn't change the team from the other night against Burnley ... we are on the positive side of some tight decisions this time which is pleasing, and it was a quality goal," he said.
"We'd done enough to win that game and we came here to be hard to beat. Some resolute defending at times, (and) a fantastic goal to see." (Reporting by Philip O'Connor Editing by Toby Davis)