Roberto De Zerbi believes the red card ‘transformed’ their Coppa Italia defeat to SPAL, but maintains Sassuolo’s high press approach is damaged by VAR.
The Neroverdi crashed out of the competition at the Round of 16 with a 2-0 home defeat, sealed by Simone Missiroli and Lorenzo Dickmann after Filip Djuricic’s dismissal.
“The game was transformed with the red card, as we created so many chances in the first half, hit the woodwork and deserved to take the lead,” the coach told RAI Sport.
“After that, with the red card, many players who hadn’t managed 90 minutes in a while and SPAL being a good side, we didn’t replicate that performance.
“My choices were limited by injuries, fitness issues and the fact Francesco Magnanelli will play this weekend, so he can’t have two matches in three days.
“I do think we could’ve done more when down to 10 men, but when you don’t have many options to come off the bench and freshen things up, it becomes difficult.”
The dismissal was caused by Djuricic’s high foot, catching Leonardo Sernicola on the inside of the knee, though it was more clumsy than intentionally reckless.
“From the images, that is a red card, but we have to understand if the referee or the man in the VAR booth has ever played football. A former footballer would know that the video looks worse than it intended to be, because if the other player moves the ball a split second earlier, you go in and it’s no longer there.
“I insist VAR needs to take context into account and the dynamics of the game. I accept that nowadays the rules say that is a red card, but it’s the third time we’ve had a similar situation this season and I don’t think it takes the pace of the game into account.”
Jeremie Boga has not been the same player since he spent six weeks out with COVID-19 over the summer.
“I agree, he has been like this for a while. I honestly think it’s just a physical issue and I really don’t believe he isn’t trying his hardest, otherwise I’d turn him inside out…”