Ancelotti: Van Dijk deserved red for Mertens tackle
Posted On March 22, 2019
Napoli’s manager believes that the defender should have been sent off in the first half
Napoli coach Carlo Ancelotti bemoaned the lack of VAR having felt Virgil van Dijk should have been sent off for his challenge on Dries Mertens in Liverpool’s qualification-clinching win at Anfield.
Netherlands captain Van Dijk was booked in the 13th minute of the Reds’ 1-0 victory when his studs caught Mertens’ ankle after he swept the ball away in a slide tackle.
Van Dijk claimed he had won the ball cleanly but Ancelotti argued he was fortunate to remain on the pitch.
“I’ve seen it on the video, I think it was a red card,” the Italian said.
“There were a lot of questions about VAR. When VAR comes in to the Champions League, it’s too late.”
Mohamed Salah’s first-half goal sent Liverpool through at the expense of Napoli, who had to settle for a place in the Europa League despite accruing nine points in their Champions League group.
A draw on Tuesday would have been enough to seal Champions League progression for Napoli, who beat Liverpool in the return fixture, but Arkadiusz Milik was denied a late leveller as Alisson stood up tall to deny him from close range.
“We knew that Liverpool would put us under a lot more pressure, they were very aggressive,” added Ancelotti.
“It was something we planned for, we knew the intensity was going to be a lot different from the first game we played. That was something we had to try and cope with.
“You can’t expect to come to a place like Liverpool and expect to create 10 really good chances, we created one or two and didn’t have the luck that we needed.”