Roberto De Zerbi brutally rips into Premier League refs after Mikel Arteta fury

Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi has declared he doesn’t like “80 per cent” of the referees in the Premier League. Officials have received plenty of flak in the last couple of weeks and the Italian is the latest to join in with the criticism.

De Zerbi saw his Brighton side draw 1-1 at home to relegation-threatened Sheffield United on Sunday. The Seagulls are now winless in their last six league matches, a run stretching back to September 24.

Brighton led 1-0 before Mahmoud Dahoud was sent off for a poor challenge on Ben Osborn midway through the second half. The Blades took advantage of having an extra man, equalising through an Adam Webster own goal just five minutes later.

De Zerbi had no complaints about the decision to send Dahoud off. However, he gave a damning assessment of the officials’ overall performance, saying he doesn’t understand why VAR is so inconsistent in England.

De Zerbi said: “I am honest and clear, I don’t like 80 per cent of English referees. That isn’t a new opinion. I don’t like them.

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“I don’t like their behaviour on the pitch. How would I like to see them change? I only think about my players, it isn’t my job. I accept everything.

“Now I am working in England and speak only about English referees. England is the only country when there is VAR, you are not sure that the decision is right.

“In other countries, you have to be sure 100 per cent that the decision taken is right. In England no and I am not able to understand.”

Dahoud will miss the league matches against Nottingham Forest, Chelsea and Brighton. De Zerbi said the German should have known better.

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He added: “If I see the new rules it is a red card, it is clear. But when I was a player I would see that the dynamic of the situation wasn’t a red card. We have to accept and Dahoud knows the mistake.

“It can happen. He has the right experience to not make this mistake but it can happen in football.”

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has been one of the biggest critics of VAR of late, following the 1-0 loss at Newcastle earlier this month. But the Spaniard was keen to give a different narrative after Fabio Vieira was sent off in Saturday’s victory over Burnley.

He said: “And with the red card, yes. Thank you for asking me. The VAR was right. The referee was right.

“Really good decision. Really positive from Mikel to speak about that… Good decision.”

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