Club News

Olsson says 'human factor' is crucial

Baggies defender not in favour of video decisions despite Emirates penalty woe

JONAS Olsson says he would be opposed to video replays being introduced in-game to help referees make key penalty-box decisions - even after Albion had a harsh spot-kick awarded against them in Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at Arsenal.

Mikel Arteta was allowed to break the deadlock in the 24th minute after Santi Cazorla went down easily in the area following Steven Reid’s challenge, with TV images clearly showing the Baggies defender did not make contact with the Gunners attacker.

But Olsson remains a big believer such decisions will even themselves over the course of a season.

“There needs to be space for the human factor,” said the Sweden international.

“Goalline technology is fair enough. But you need to keep the momentum.

“That's why this league is so good because of the tempo and pace, and if you challenge too many decisions you lose that.

“In most cases it'll even out throughout the season even though you're disappointed afterwards.”

The Baggies are in sixth spot despite not taking a point from their last three games against Swansea, Stoke and Arsene Wenger’s men.

And Olsson is refusing to be too downbeat as the Baggies look to get back on track against West Ham at The Hawthorns on Sunday (ko 4pm).

“I think all teams have down periods; for us it's now,” he added.

“We need to get on track as soon as possible.

“Swansea is a difficult place to go, as is Arsenal.

“I don't think we should over-analyse the games.

“Stoke was more difficult to come to terms with.

“But that can happen in the season.

“For us it's important to get back on track during this Christmas period.”

But the Albion vice-captain admitted the key penalty decision against the Gunners was hard to take.

“In the first half we weren't at our best,” he said.

“We came here with ambitions to play our own game, which we didn't do in the first half.

“In the second half we did it better.

“Everything has to be 100 per cent when you go to a place like the Emirates.

“The first penalty was the wrong decision but, that said, referees have a difficult job.

“Sometimes it goes against you, sometimes goes with you. Unfortunately it went against us.

“It came at a crucial time of the game.

“They feel a bit anxious because they've had a bad, bad, bad few weeks so it was a goal which kept them going."

He added: “The referee hasn't had the privilege of replays.

“It’s a difficult job. If it's a dive the onus should be on the person diving.

“It's the wrong decision - we could all see that.

“But it's a difficult job. Players make mistakes on the pitch, sometimes referees.

“What I do think in the overall season it will even out - you might get a goal somewhere that shouldn't be given.

“It’s part of the human factor.

“Sometimes you react because it's a wrong decision by the ref and you get frustrated.

“It was in the heat of the moment.

“The reason I enjoy this league is because I think referees are fair. Officials like that can come along. It's part of the game.

“You can define cheating as pulling shirts for example. That happens in every game.

“I don't like people diving but it's a grey area and I'm not very objective because I'm a defender.”