Roberto De Zerbi believes VAR must improve but will not dwell on any injustice

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Roberto De Zerbi believes VAR must improve but refused to dwell on injustice as he praised referees’ chief Howard Webb for facing the music following Brighton’s controversial clash with bitter rivals Crystal Palace.

Albion had to settle for a 1-1 draw at Selhurst Park after a first-half strike from Pervis Estupinan was incorrectly disallowed when VAR official John Brooks drew offside lines against the wrong Palace player.

Webb, the chief refereeing officer at Professional Game Match Officials Limited, visited Albion’s training ground on Thursday to discuss the major blunder, which led to Brooks being dropped for two games.

De Zerbi was unaware of the mistake until he arrived home from Saturday’s Premier League game in south London and had a philosophical approach to the fiasco.

Speaking of VAR and his conversations with Webb, the Italian said: “It should be better. The technology can and has to help the referee but in Palace it was like this and we can’t change the result.

“I can tell you he (Webb) is a good guy, an honest person and I appreciate a lot he showed his face because when there is a mistake it’s not easy to put your face in this situation.

“But I told him there isn’t a problem for me, for my players, for my club. We don’t want to put any pressure on the referee of tomorrow.

“They are human like the other people and they can make mistakes. I don’t like if I have to criticise them because it’s not my job. I’m sorry for the mistakes for sure.”

Despite last weekend’s frustration at Palace, Brighton are pushing for a place in Europe.

The high-flying Seagulls sit sixth in the top flight – above weekend opponents Fulham on goal difference – having taken 11 points from the last 15 available.

De Zerbi is confident his in-form side have the capabilities to secure continental qualification.

“For us it is a very important game,” he said of the visit of Marco Silva’s Cottagers. “Tomorrow we can understand who we can be in the second part of the season because Fulham is a good team.

“When I speak to fight to arrive in Europe, it’s not to show arrogance but because I believe in my players.

“I believe in them because every day I see them in attitude, in quality and I know very well the level of my players and I know I am able to analyse well the games.

“And, at the moment, the pitch is speaking for us because in the last period we are playing fantastic football, we are creating a lot of chances to score, we are defending very well.

“At the moment, we are ready to fight to arrive in Europe. If something changes, I will tell you something different.”

Meanwhile, De Zerbi revealed injured midfielder Adam Lallana is facing months on the sidelines.

The former England international has missed the club’s past three games with a leg issue after being taken off in the first half of last month’s 2-2 draw at Leicester.

“Lallana is a big injury and we lose him for much time,” said De Zerbi. “I think months.”

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