'I have to accept' - Roberto De Zerbi gives diplomatic assessment after VAR controversy in Brighton's defeat at Chelsea

Roberto De Zerbi refused to give his verdict on referee Craig Pawson's display in Brighton's controversial 3-2 loss at ten-man Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
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Among the big calls was the decision to give Conor Gallagher a second yellow card just before half time, the Blues being awarded a penalty for James Milner's tackle on Mykhailo Mudryk, and giving Albion a spot-kick for a Levi Colwill handball – only for it to be chalked off as it hit the defender's face.

Former Seagulls star Moises Caicedo was perhaps fortunate to stay on the pitch in a day full of contentious calls but head coach De Zerbi, who was warned about his conduct after saying he didn't like ‘80 per cent’ of English referees, would not be drawn on the matter.

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When asked about the referee's performance, the Italian said: "No, please, I don't want to speak about the referee. Football, yes, but about the referee I didn't see anything. No problem. I have to accept every decision.

"Referees are like coaches, they can make mistakes, I don't know if it was a mistake or not, if the Mudryk penalty was clear or not... no."

De Zerbi was clearly conscious that his previous comments about referees led to a fine.

He added: "I am the coach. The last time I spoke about the behaviour of a referee and not about the decisions.

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“Because if you want to speak about decisions, [Joao] Palhinha red card against Fulham I didn't say anything. But the behaviour, one time I said something not bad but my idea, sorry."

The result means Brighton are eighth in the Premier League, whilst Chelsea are two places and three points behind.