Bart Verbruggen reveals interesting reason why he wanted referee to send him off against Chelsea - 'Would have been better off'

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Brighton goalkeeper Bart Verbruggen has revealed he actually wanted to see red after a clash with Chelsea’s Nicholas Jackson.

With the score at 2-0 at the Amex, Jackson was played through on goal to seal the win. Verbruggen hesitated before charging towards the Chelsea striker, who went to ground after hurdling the keeper’s sliding challenge outside the penalty area.

The Belgium star, 21, was given a yellow card to the keeper but the visitors, including Mauricio Pochettino, questioned why it wasn't a red card.

In fact, Verbruggen himself wanted to see red.

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Bart Verbruggen was booked after a challenge on Nicolas Jackon during Chelsea's win at Brighton (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)Bart Verbruggen was booked after a challenge on Nicolas Jackon during Chelsea's win at Brighton (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
Bart Verbruggen was booked after a challenge on Nicolas Jackon during Chelsea's win at Brighton (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Recalling the incident with reporters post-match, the goalkeeper said: “To be fair, I hesitated to come and then I did come – I think it was the right decision to go.

"I made the tackle but I didn't touch him at all. He gave me a yellow card because the ball went to the sidelines.

"I was hoping the referee would give me a red card and VAR would show that I didn't touch him.

“I think we would have been better off if he gave me the red card because then we would have got the ball. The free kick [by Raheem Sterling] ended up in my hand so it was all good.”

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Goals from Cole Palmer and Christopher Nkunku sealed the win for Chelsea but it was a nervy finish for the visitors after Danny Welbeck struck in injury-time – after Reece James saw red for kicking out at Joao Pedro.

Albion had chances to equalise – including a late corner, which Verbruggen considered coming up for.

“It was the 99th minute and we got a corner,” he recalled. “I wanted to go but they took it too quick so there wasn't any point. I stayed back and hoped the ball would go in. Unfortunately it didn't.

"Football is never easy but it should always be the case that you react good. I think we did. The red card helped us. Maybe the first goal came a little bit too late. We just couldn't get it in today and I think we conceded a little bit too easy. So I am disappointed.

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“You want to help the team but you feel you can't do anything [as a goalkeeper] when ball is up the other end. You want to help the boys up front to put the ball in the goal but it's not my job and they are way better than me.”

Verbruggen was also asked about the future of VAR after the news that Premier League clubs will have the chance to vote to scrap the technology next season.

"To be fair, I don't know,” the goalkeeper said.

"There might be slight changes maybe to the way it's used. In certain ways, it also benefits the games.

"Sometimes it works for you and sometimes it works against you. It has done for us this season. I don't really have an opinion on it.

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"Whatever the Premier League decides, we have to deal with. It's up to the people upstairs. Sometimes I wish there was no VAR, other times I'm happy there was.”

With Europe out of the question, Brighton will be playing to finish in the top ten when Manchester United visit the Amex on Sunday (May 19) for the final game of the season.

Verbruggen said: “It's important for us [to get top ten]. I want to celebrate with the fans one more time and give them a chance to celebrate with us as well.

"They have been brilliant this season and we want to reward them. Top ten is big for us. We will give it our all on Sunday.”

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