By 90Min
February 23, 2019

Fulham boss Claudio Ranieri was left to rue a lack of VAR as a Javier Hernandez handball set West Ham on their way to all three points at the London Stadium.

After Ryan Babel gave the visitors the lead inside the opening few minutes, controversy struck when West Ham striker Javier Hernandez equalised with his hand. 

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The goal sparked a Hammers turnaround, with Issa Diop and a late Michail Antonio strike sealing a comfortable 3-1 win for the home side in the end.

Despite being on the wrong end of a potentially season-defining call, Ranieri refused to blame the match officials for failing to see the incident, and instead hoped that the introduction of VAR next season would help make things better.

Speaking in his post-match press conference, the Italian said (as quoted by the club's official website): "It was a pity that the referee was covered for the handball by Chicharito. 

“I hope for VAR next season could make it better. Now football is so fast and there are so many players in the box. For the referee, it’s very difficult to see everything. For this reason, VAR could make it better. It exists in Italy, in the Champions League and VAR will be important in England to help the referee."

After their latest loss, Fulham find themselves eight points behind 17th placed Cardiff in the Premier League with just 11 games remaining, but Ranieri insisted that the club could still stay up and urged his players to keep 'fighting'. 

He added: "For us, I know it’s tough, but we must believe. We must continue to fight because I don’t like players who give up. I know it’s very difficult, but we must fight. The level of confidence increases when you win. Now, our last victory was a long time ago. It’s important that we continue to fight. In training, they train very well, which means they believe.

“We will fight together. If you fight, you may have a chance. If you don’t fight, you’ve lost before play. I believe in every one of my players. They have very big hearts. They have to believe, and something will change.”

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