Gary O’Neil asked “what is the point in VAR?” after his Wolves side conceded a controversial late penalty during a 3-2 defeat at Craven Cottage.

VAR sent referee Michael Salisbury to the screen to award a penalty after Joao Gomes brought Harry Wilson down in the box, Willian scoring his second spot kick of the game to seal all three points for Fulham.

O’Neil highlighted the decisions involving the late penalty, Carlos Vinicius’ alleged headbutt on Max Kilman and why Tim Ream did not receive a second yellow for a foul on Hwan Hee-Chang.

The Wolves boss criticised the decisions during the game and believes VAR has not helped the referee.

O’Neil said: “I don’t think it’s helped the game,

“I think the ref would have done a better job on his own. I don’t think VAR helped him but in fact it hindered him.

“Sending him to the screen for one and not to the other, not advising him there is a headbutt or that Tim Ream should receive a red card. What is the point in VAR?

“They said they got the Harry Wilson one right (last penalty decision). There’s minimal contact and I don’t think there’s enough.”

O’Neil, who spoke to the referee after the match, also felt aggrieved about Fulham’s first penalty awarded for a foul by Nelson Semedo on Tom Cairney.

He told Sky Sports: “Nelson plays the ball, doesn’t touch Tom Cairney. I watched it back with the referee, and to be fair to him he says he thinks they’ve got that wrong and he should have been sent to the monitor.”

Fulham boss Marco Silva lauded his side’s mentality to end a run of four games without a win and to go ahead in the game on three separate occasions.

He said: “We knew Wolves would show resilience tonight again and they brought it back twice and we showed team spirit and I really believed we deserved three points.

“It is important to express ourselves on the pitch. We had some very good spells in some times in the game.

“But the mentality, team spirit and it was a game we had to win and we did it.”

Willian scored his second and third of the season from the spot and Silva praised the experienced 35-year-old.

“He is really important for us and we know the quality of Willian,” Silva added.

“My decision last season to change the taker because he is a player who needs more importance and confidence and it was nice to see him take responsibility with two very good moments from him.

“Overall his performance was very good. Two chances he must score and he did it in very good style, I must say.”

Gary O’Neil admitted Wolves’ 3-2 defeat at Fulham may have ‘finally turned him against VAR’ following a number of controversial calls.

Willian scored two penalties – including a stoppage-time winner – at Craven Cottage, while Alex Iwobi’s early strike was cancelled out by Matheus Cunha and Wolves’ Hwang Hee-chan also scored from the spot.

The Cottagers won their first penalty after Tom Cairney beat Nelson Semedo to the ball and was brought down in the box, and a VAR check ruled the incident to have happened inside the area, with Willian stuttering in his run-up and sending Jose Sa the wrong way

After reviewing the decision with referee Michael Salisbury after the match, O’Neil told Sky Sports: “Nelson plays the ball, doesn’t touch Tom Cairney. I watched it back with the referee, and to be fair to him he says he thinks they’ve got that wrong and he should have been sent to the monitor.

“Doesn’t help me. It doesn’t help all the fans that have travelled all this way to watch the team. Doesn’t help the players who are feeling frustrated again. The Nelson one has pretty much been admitted by the referee that (there was) a mistake.”

Willian’s winner sparked more debate, O’Neil maintaining the second penalty, issued after Joao Gomes was deemed to have brought down Harry Wilson in the box, was “soft”, but Salisbury in that case stood by his decision to ultimately award the penalty – the result of VAR Stuart Attwell encouraging him to check the pitchside monitor.

O’Neil, who has seen his side emerge on the wrong end of decisions before, said: “It’s bad luck that it keeps going against us, but there are bad refereeing decisions in there.

“I’ve had a real grown-up conversation in there with him, I’m trying to remain calm. I’m not angry with anybody. I’m not in there abusing people. It’s literally a conversation around, ‘come on, guys, it’s six, seven points now that have gone against us, I’m managing a big football club here, and the difference that you’re making to my reputation, to the club’s progression up the league, to people’s livelihoods is huge’.

“It can’t be that with all the technology and all the time and the biggest league in the world that we’re getting so many wrong. It can’t be OK.

“I’ve always been for VAR but I think it’s causing a big problem at the moment. Maybe tonight has finally turned me against VAR when I thought it would probably help, but it doesn’t seem to be.”

Fulham boss Marco Silva, meanwhile, was relieved to have secured a first victory in five matches.

He told Sky Sports: “It’s a really important win for us. We wanted a reaction from the last, back-to-back defeats. Of course it is always tough for us. It is something that we are not used to.

“I really wanted to see that quality, that intensity, the pace, the will to go. The team showed very good spirit. Overall it was a balanced game but we were always trying to do more to win than Wolves, I believe.”

Willian completed his brace with a dramatic stoppage-time winner from the penalty spot as Fulham held off Wolves to claim all three points in a thrilling 3-2 victory at Craven Cottage.

The experienced 35-year-old scored two penalties, while Alex Iwobi’s early strike was cancelled out by Matheus Cunha and Wolves’ Hwang Hee-chan also netted from the spot.

The winger’s double took his tally to three for the season as the Cottagers claimed their first victory in four games.

A golden chance was presented to the hosts after 40 seconds. The creative Andreas Pereira whipped a dangerous ball into the box and Fulham striker Raul Jimenez swung his boot but failed to convert his second in as many games.

But Pereira’s efforts were rewarded in the seventh minute when he set up the opening goal of the game.

The Brazilian was everywhere. He drifted onto the left before he beat his marker and delivered another perfect drilled low pass, this time to the alert Iwobi who gave Fulham a deserved 1-0 lead.

The Cottagers looked to strike again through Jimenez, who failed to tap home before Wolves keeper Jose Sa denied Tom Cairney’s powerful effort moments later.

Wolves grew into the game and were unfortunate not to score a goal of their own.

Mario Lemina started positively against his old side and drove forward before unleashing Korean striker Hwang, who was denied by the crossbar.

And Wolves got the goal they needed in the 22nd minute through Cunha after a magical moment of individual play in the build-up.

It started through tricky Frenchman Jean-Ricner Bellegarde, who toyed with Antonee Robinson on the left flank, before he jinked outside and delivered a delightful cross to the head of Cunha in front of the empty net.

The minutes before the goal suggested it was coming and Marco Silva’s side yet again paid the price for not taking their chances.

Individual mistakes were a big theme of the first half and goalkeeper Bernd Leno was called into action after a defensive error in the 36th minute where Timothy Castagne dealt with a cross which would have seen Cunha claim his second at the back post.

Cunha started Wolves’ first big chance in the second half when he slipped strike partner Hwang wide but his cross to Matt Doherty was kept out of danger by Castagne, who replicated his earlier heroics.

But typical of the end-to-end game, Fulham won a penalty after Cairney beat Nelson Semedo to the ball and was brought down in the box.

A VAR check ruled the incident to have happened inside the area and Willian stuttered in his run-up and sent Sa the wrong way, stroking his effort into the bottom right corner to restore Fulham’s lead.

A deft flick on from Jimenez set Iwobi through but the Nigeria international was denied his brace by Sa who tipped his effort over before the Wolves keeper stopped another effort not long after to keep his side in the contest with 20 to go.

And Wolves converted a penalty of their own in the 75th minute through Hwang.

Fulham skipper Tim Ream bundled Hwang to the ground and the striker stepped up and blasted his effort down the middle to make it 2-2 in front of Wolves’ travelling supporters.

In dramatic fashion Fulham won another penalty in added time after Joao Gomes was deemed to have brought down Harry Wilson in the box.

The clinical Willian calmly stepped up and buried his effort past Sa to give the hosts an important 3-2 win.

The Premier League has been defeated in its bid to ban loan transfers between associated party clubs in January.

The move was designed to prevent a club like Newcastle loaning a player from another club owned by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund – they have been linked with a temporary switch for Ruben Neves from Saudi club Al-Hilal.

The Premier League needed 14 out of 20 clubs to vote for the ban at the shareholders’ meeting in London on Tuesday afternoon.

But the PA news agency understands the vote finished 13-7 in favour of a ban, short of the threshold to push the motion through.

Injury-hit Newcastle will now, if they wish, be able to bring in former Wolves midfielder Neves on loan to replace Sandro Tonali following his 10-month ban for breaking rules on gambling.

Similarly, Manchester City would be able to loan players from other clubs owned by the City Football Group.

In another blow to the Premier League, the clubs were unable to approve the terms of the so-called ‘New Deal’, a £900million settlement between it and clubs in the English Football League.

The Premier League had hoped to confirm the package at Tuesday’s meeting, but it is understood no vote took place.

Despite a three-hour discussion there remains a sticking point surrounding new cost control measures for both Premier League and EFL clubs.

The Premier League wants the matter resolved before the new independent regulator in English football is put in place.

Ange Postecoglou insists Tottenham must accept the pain of defeat after Wolves’ stunning late show.

Pablo Sarabia and Mario Lemina scored in stoppage time to cap an astonishing finish, seal a 2-1 win and deny Spurs top spot in the Premier League.

Brennan Johnson’s first Tottenham goal had given them an early lead and they were set to move two points clear at the summit despite riding their luck for much of the game.

But, instead, Spurs have suffered successive defeats following Monday’s 4-1 loss to Chelsea.

Postecoglou said: “It’s part of the pain of football when things happen in those circumstances. You’ve just got to take it. I can’t fault the players’ effort or their commitment. It was always going to be a tough game.

“We started well but we could have been a little bit more positive and aggressive with the ball. I’ve got to temper that with the fact we have had so many changes and we’re not going to get the same, especially when three of your back four are almost starting for the first time.

“We’ve had a particularly settled line-up. You could see they were feeling it towards the end. For the most part Wolves didn’t have many big chances but at the end they scored. Wolves were able to lift themselves, particularly with the crowd behind them.

“The character and commitment was there, don’t dismiss that. The guys have played their first game of the year and you are changing three of the back four so it’s fairly disruptive. There are plenty of positives to take.”

Johnson gave Spurs, without injured pair James Maddison and Micky van de Ven until January, a third-minute lead when he turned in Pedro Porro’s cross from close range but, from then, Wolves took control.

Their tenacity and determination left Tottenham struggling but the hosts’ final ball let them down.

It took until nine minutes into the second half for a clear chance but, when it came, Hwang Hee-Chan scuffed wide with just Guglielmo Vicario to beat.

Tottenham looked like they would hang on, even going close to a second when Jose Sa turned Giovani Lo Celso’s shot over, before Wolves finally found the breakthrough.

Substitute Sarabia, on the pitch for just two minutes, levelled when he collected Matheus Cunha’s neat pass and smashed a volley past Vicario.

It was a deserved leveller but Wolves wanted more and got it in the seventh minute of stoppage time.

Tommy Doyle’s quick free-kick sent Sarabia away and he picked out Lemina, running from deep, to poke the ball into the bottom corner.

Boss Gary O’Neil said: “It was the most proud I have been of a group I have coached, to produce what they produced against a top side.

“I would have been very proud of the group even if the game had finished 1-0 to Tottenham. I spoke to the boys at half-time, that the scoreline was irrelevant. We were the better side, don’t let the scoreline dictate how you feel.

“I try to make the team resemble me but I was never good enough to produce a performance like that.

“To be 12 weeks in, we’re ahead of where we expected to be. There was a lot of noise around the place about how much of a struggle it might be but we’ve beaten Man City and Spurs, the top two, early on in the transition. We’re ahead of the curve.”

Wolves’ stunning late show rocked Tottenham and denied Spurs the chance to return to the top of the Premier League.

Pablo Sarabia and Mario Lemina scored in stoppage time to snatch a thrilling – but deserved – 2-1 victory.

Brennan Johnson’s early strike – his first Spurs goal – had given the visitors the lead and they looked on course for a smash-and-grab win at Molineux.

Tottenham rode their luck as Wolves constantly let them off the hook until Sarabia and Lemina sparked a sensational finish.

They were heading two points clear at the top of the table but have now suffered successive defeats.

Wolves, meanwhile, hit back from their controversial 2-1 loss at Sheffield United to underline the clear progress they are making under Gary O’Neil.

Spurs suffered their first wobble under Ange Postecoglou in their 4-1 defeat to Chelsea having also lost James Maddison and Micky van de Ven until January with injuries.

Suspensions to Cristian Romero and Destiny Udogie compounded their issues before arriving at Molineux yet they initially showed no scars from Monday’s chaos and took the lead after just three minutes.

It was poor from Wolves, Rayan Ait-Nouri and Joao Gomes were hoodwinked by Dejan Kulusevski’s cute drag and flick which allowed Pedro Porro to cross low for Johnson.

He had run on the blindside of Nelson Semedo and, with the defender caught out, tapped in from close range. It was the Wales international’s first goal since April – which also came against Wolves.

Far from being shellshocked, the hosts responded well and Ben Davies blocked a shot from the rampaging Ait-Nouri as Wolves’ tenacity left Spurs flustered.

Tottenham were needlessly tentative at the back, perhaps from Monday’s carnage, but continued to survive with Wolves’ final ball consistently failing them.

They still needed Guglielmo Vicario to save well from Lemina before the midfielder had a header deflect over and the goalkeeper also gathered Toti Gomes’ effort in stoppage time.

Wolves emerged after the break in the same combative fashion and Jean-Ricner Bellegarde ballooned over with Matheus Cunha also curling wide.

The hosts were getting closer and should have levelled after 54 minutes when Hwang Hee-Chan missed a golden chance.

A poor corner eventually fell to Gomes and his shot deflected into the path of Hwang but, with just Vicario to beat, the seven-goal forward scuffed wide.

Without star man Pedro Neto Wolves lacked a killer touch, similar to Tottenham – missing main schemer Maddison – who had created nothing since their early opener.

The hosts’ dominance had nullified Spurs but they were still behind and their desperation for a leveller began to leave spaces, with Johnson curling wide after a rare break.

Wolves looked to be running out of ideas with time ticking by, although Sasa Kalajdzic wastefully headed over, and Giovani Lo Celso almost snatched an undeserved second with two minutes left but Jose Sa turned his effort over.

Little suggested the drama to come but Wolves then turned the game on its head in stoppage time.

O’Neil’s side finally got the leveller they deserved when substitute Sarabia, on the pitch for just two minutes, collected Cunha’s clipped ball and smashed past Vicario.

Then, in the seventh minute of stoppage time, Sarabia was sent scampering after a quick free-kick and he found Lemina to turn in and send Molineux wild.

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg said Tottenham went down with “the flag held high” in their 4-1 loss to Chelsea and has backed the squad to cope with the absence of key personnel.

Spurs lost their unbeaten start to the Premier League season in a pulsating London derby in which five goals were disallowed and the hosts played the final 35 minutes with nine men.

To add salt into fresh Tottenham wounds, Micky van de Ven was forced off with a hamstring injury and James Maddison had to be withdrawn due to an ankle knock, while Cristian Romero and Destiny Udogie, who were both sent off, will sit out this weekend’s trip to Wolves.

Ange Postecoglou’s side battled admirably, first with 10 men from the 35th minute and then when down to nine early in the second half, but Nicolas Jackson grabbed the first of his three goals with quarter of an hour left to finally break the hosts’ resolve.

Hojbjerg said: “I think we went down with the flag held high. We gave it our all but the result hurts a lot.

“We showed what we had in our hearts but the result hurts.

“Tuesday we have a day off and when we see each other on Wednesday, we’ll gather the pieces and focus on the next game, as we have to.

“Everyone has to show their availability and show they are prepared to do what it takes.

“A good squad is not 11 players. It is 18 or 25 players and this is what we have to show. The result hurts a lot but we have to keep going.”

Mauricio Pochettino’s first return to Tottenham had initially started in the worst possible fashion when Dejan Kulusevski’s curled effort deflected off Levi Colwill and beyond the helpless Robert Sanchez after six minutes.

The wheels started to fall off during a 57-minute first half where four goals were chalked off by video assistant referee John Brooks at Stockley Park, who decided that Romero’s tackle on Enzo Fernandez was worthy of a red card and a penalty in the 33rd minute.

Spurs’ uphill task increased further when Udogie was shown a second yellow after 10 minutes of the second period, but Postecoglou deployed a high line and Guglielmo Vicario starred in the sweeper-keeper role before Jackson made it 2-1.

Tottenham remained resolute and started to create chances with substitute Eric Dier marginally offside when he volleyed home soon after Jackson’s first goal before Rodrigo Bentancur and Son Heung-min squandered opportunities.


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Jackson made the points safe in stoppage time when he lashed in from Conor Gallagher’s pass, but Spurs supporters greeted the goal with a standing ovation for their crestfallen players.

Kulusevski said: “It was unbelievable, honestly. Some things are bigger than life, bigger than football, bigger than the wins.

“Honestly I was really proud of that moment and the fans. I was grateful and it makes me want to give more back.

“It has to give us fuel. We lost the game, we hate to lose, it was the first of the season, but we have to make sure this doesn’t happen again and play 11 v 11 because then it is much harder to beat us.”

The consequences of this defeat could be long-lasting with Romero set for a three-match ban, which will rule him out of matches with Wolves, Aston Villa and Manchester City.

Of bigger concern is centre-back partner Van de Ven after he pulled up at the end of the first half in a sprint with Jackson, which saw him helped off the pitch and he was later seen on crutches.

Udogie will also miss Saturday’s clash at Wolves and with Ben Davies nursing an ankle knock, Postecoglou could use Under-21 defenders Ash Phillips or Alfie Dorrington this weekend.

“It will be a test for sure. They (Van de Ven and Maddison) are amazing players and I hope they are back very, very soon, but as you saw the players that came in were amazing,” Kulusevski said.

“We train really hard every day and everybody is ready. You saw Eric Dier, he came in, did his first appearance and was unbelievable. The guys are ready.

“Everybody wants to play and it is so high level the training. So, if (Phillips) will be called, he will be ready.”

Sheffield United boss Paul Heckingbottom joked he would be in prison if his side had not been awarded a last-gasp penalty which helped them finally break their Premier League duck with a 2-1 victory over Wolves.

The Blades won at the 11th attempt when Oliver Norwood smashed home from 12 yards in the 10th minute of time added on after Fabio Silva fouled George Baldock, a decision which Wolves boss Gary O’Neil described as “absolutely crazy”.

It provided a moment of relief for the hosts after Cameron Archer’s excellent opener had been cancelled out by Jean-Ricner Bellegarde’s deflected effort in the 89th minute as their campaign finally kickstarted.

Heckingbottom said: “I don’t think you’d have seen me if we hadn’t been given that penalty, I might be in prison somewhere.

“I have not seen it but the people who have seen have said because there was no contact there was no way it was going to be overturned. It’s one of those where the ref makes the call and there is not enough to overturn the decision.

“The dramatic nature of it makes victory feel even sweeter but it would have been harsh had we not won, especially after the way we performed in the second half.

“It’s a tough, tough league and there are going to be games where we are not in them, where the opposition take it away from us.

“It’s not a walk in the park this league but I thought we were dominant in the second half and for me deserved the win.

“We managed the game really well, it’s a big win, a big three points. A good performance.”

It was the second week in a row where Wolves felt they were on the wrong end of a penalty decision after a controversial incident in last weekend’s draw with Newcastle.

Boss O’Neil watched the incident again after the match with referee Rob Jones, who stood by his decision.

“It is not a penalty, hardly any contact. It is a tough one to discuss, it is another terrible decision,” O’Neil moaned.

“I don’t understand why he feels the need to give it, pause, take your time, it’s not about you. If you have made a clear and obvious error there, VAR will tell you after.

“I’ve been in with him, and he still thinks it’s a penalty, he still says there is contact. The only contact I can see is maybe Fabio’s shinpad with Baldock’s calf, like a graze.

“Baldock is already on his way down. I am sitting there watching it with him and he still says it is a penalty which tells me we are in a pretty bad spot because that is never, ever a penalty.

“If you give a foul for that contact there would be one million fouls in the 90 minutes. Because of the wording we use VAR can’t intervene because it is not deemed clear and obvious. Craziness.

“I don’t expect anything, we didn’t get an apology last week and apologies don’t help me. We are six points down maybe from refereeing decisions.

“I have said a million times we need to be better so decision’s don’t affect us as much but the facts are they have had a big impact on our points total.

“A big impact on where we are in the league, the feel of the place, has an impact on how well I am deemed to have done as a new manager arriving at Wolves, 12 points is a big difference to 18.

“To sit and have a conversation with the referee and him still think that is a penalty is absolutely crazy. I am worried about it at the minute, they are in a bad spot and it seems to be going against us.”

Oliver Norwood’s penalty with the last kick of the game finally gave Sheffield United their first win of the Premier League season as they beat Wolves 2-1 at Bramall Lane.

The skipper smashed home from 12 yards after Fabio Silva fouled George Baldock in the seventh minute of time added on as the Blades broke their duck at the 11th attempt.

It had looked like they would have to settle for a point as Jean-Ricner Bellegarde’s 89th-minute strike had cancelled out Cameron Archer’s impressive opener.

But this was just the tonic Paul Heckingbottom needed after a harrowing start to the campaign on their return to the top tier and they are now just two points off safety after Burnley and Bournemouth lost again.

There was more penalty woe for Wolves, following on from last week’s controversy against Newcastle, but their five-match unbeaten streak came to an end.

The sodden conditions made for a chaotic opening, where Wolves looked the most likely as they regularly found space down their right-hand side.

Matheus Cunha burst forward in the opening five minutes but his dangerous cross avoided everyone while Nelson Semedo blasted over after he made headway.

Hee-Chan Hwang looked dangerous and forced Wes Foderingham into a flying save before the South Korean was involved in the best opening of the first half in the 32nd minute.

He wriggled clear in the box and looked primed to score but skewed his shot straight into the path of Rayan Ait-Nouri, who could not turn the ball goalwards.

Sheffield United improved immeasurably after the break and boxed Wolves in for the first 20 minutes.

Archer sent an effort just over from 20 yards while James McAtee failed to work Jose Sa from a free-kick in a dangerous area.

Just as it looked as if Wolves had weathered the storm, the Blades went ahead in the 72nd minute with a moment of quality.

There was some fortune in how it came about as a clearance from Cunha hit McAtee and sent Archer clear but from then on it was all about the former Aston Villa striker.

As it looked like he might be caught by the chasing Wolves defenders, Archer unleased a 25-yard shot that arrowed in off the underside of the crossbar.

But the Blades appeared to suffer more disappointment in the 89th minute when Bellegarde’s effort deflected off Baldock and over Foderingham, who got a hand to it.

There was late drama as Silva went through the back of Baldock deep into time added on and after the decision by referee Rob Jones survived a vigorous VAR check, Norwood smashed the spot-kick in off the crossbar to send Bramall Lane into raptures.

Wolves boss Gary O’Neil called the decision to award Newcastle a first-half penalty in their 2-2 draw at Molineux “scandalous”.

O’Neil was delighted by the way his players battled back, twice coming from a goal down to earn an impressive point through Hwang Hee-chan’s equaliser, but Wolves were once again left fuming at the officials on a busy afternoon for referee Anthony Taylor and VAR Jarred Gillett.

The game was at 1-1, with Mario Lemina’s first Wolves goal cancelling out Callum Wilson’s opener, when Taylor pointed to the spot on the stroke of half-time.

Hwang had been guilty of a heavy touch inside his own box, inviting Fabian Schar to challenge for the ball, but the Newcastle man appeared to kick the turf and looked to already be on his way down before any contact.

There was a lengthy VAR check but the on-field decision stood, and Wilson kept his cool to put Newcastle back in front.

“It was a scandalous decision,” O’Neil said. “It was a terrible on-field decision, and terrible that VAR didn’t intervene so I thought they got it badly wrong.

“(Hwang) has a big touch…and then goes to clear the ball. He makes such minimal contact with Schar, hardly any, a glance of the boot.

“Schar’s is already on the way down and the ball actually hits ‘Channy’ on the other foot before he even makes contact with Schar so technically he gets the ball before he makes contact with Schar, so that’s why it’s a terrible decision.”

Wolves seemed to use their sense of injustice as fuel in the second half, and it was fitting that Hwang got the equaliser with his seventh goal of the season.

“There’s never any question marks from me on his mentality, his willingness to work, his ability to refocus and get going again,” O’Neil said of the Korean.

“Obviously he’s a threat, obviously his goalscoring this season for us has been a big plus and he gets another important one today.”

The draw extends Wolves’ unbeaten run to five games, and O’Neil said: “I’m really pleased with the group. We suffered some setbacks and I think everyone could be proud of their work-rate, the quality and the resilience.”

Eddie Howe was frustrated that Newcastle, playing for the first time since Sandro Tonali started a 10-month ban for betting offences, could not hold on for a win having twice led, but was happy with how they finished the match despite fatigue creeping in after Wednesday’s 1-0 defeat to Borussia Dortmund.

“It was probably a fair result,” he said. “Two good teams. It was a really good spectacle. It’s frustrating having led not to get over the line and win the game but it was a really impressive end when the home crowd is up.

“We’ve had a tough week with the Sandro situation and injuries to key players but it was a really good response.”

Wilson’s brace, including an acrobatic opener to tidy up his own rebound, took him to seven goals from nine appearances, encouraging news for Howe with Alexander Isak facing a spell on the sidelines.

“It was a massive contribution from Callum,” Howe said. “His first goal was hugely impressive, the first chance was the easier than the second but that’s typical Callum.

“He took the penalty well and was probably frustrated he didn’t get the match ball with a chance at the end, but they were priceless goals for us.”

Hwang Hee-chan’s seventh goal of the season earned Wolves a point as they twice came from behind in a 2-2 draw at home against Newcastle.

Callum Wilson scored a first-half brace for the visitors, including a controversial penalty, to move on to seven goals from just nine Premier League appearances but it was not enough against a determined Wolves side who seemed to take inspiration from a sense of injustice in a feisty second half.

Wilson, starting in place of the injured Alexander Isak, acrobatically capitalised on a Jose Sa error to put Newcastle in front 22 minutes in but Mario Lemina, back in the Wolves side after suspension, headed the hosts level with his first goal in old gold 14 minutes later.

Wolves then fumed when Anthony Taylor pointed to the post on the stroke of half-time, with minimal apparent contact when Hwang was guilty of a loose touch in his own box and Fabian Schar went down as he stepped in to take possession.

Wilson kept his cool through a lengthy VAR check and ignored the jeers to put Newcastle back in front despite Sa getting a strong hand to the spot-kick, but Hwang would make amends in the 71st minute with an equaliser that extends Wolves’ unbeaten run to five.

Newcastle made the trip south coming off a 1-0 Champions League home defeat to Borussia Dortmund and still reeling from the loss of Sandro Tonali, serving the first game of a 10-month ban for betting offences.

They were inches away from an early opener when Joelinton dropped deep to receive Kieran Trippier’s pass and feed Sean Longstaff who hesitated on a cross and instead slipped a low shot narrowly wide.

But Wolves, who had won only two of their previous 16 Premier League matches against the Magpies, were applying pressure of their own with some confident play, yet struggling to test Nick Pope.

It was almost against the run of play that Wilson put Newcastle in front in the 22nd minute. Sa came but failed to collect Anthony Gordon’s cross, colliding with Boubacar Traore, and though Wilson’s first shot was blocked by Toti the ball bounced up and Wilson turned it home.

Wolves responded well, with Cunha twice denied before Pedro Neto cut inside and forced Pope to push his shot over. The hosts levelled from the resulting corner as Lemina got the right side of Trippier at the far post to head in Neto’s delivery.

But Newcastle were awarded a contentious penalty on the stroke of half-time, with Schar appearing to kick the turf as he tumbled over when challenging Hwang.

Contact looked minimal and there was a lengthy check from VAR Jarred Gillett before Taylor’s decision was upheld and Wilson restored Newcastle’s lead.

Wolves were screaming for a spot-kick of their own in first-half stoppage time after Pope came out of his box and failed to gather, but there was only the slightest graze of the ball against the fingers of Bruno Guimaraes as he challenged Cunha.

Wolverhampton blood pressures continued to rise early in the second half as a string of decisions went Newcastle’s way and the game became scrappy.

The home fans wanted a red card when Lascelles stopped the run of Hwang as he tried to go through on goal, but Taylor deemed a yellow sufficient.

That frustration was relieved in the 71st minute when Hwang made up for conceding the penalty with a fine equaliser, played in by Toti and leaving Dan Burn in a heap before rifling home.

Neto powered forward again in the 74th minute but just as he looked ready to pull the trigger he pulled up holding his hamstring, and neither side could find a winner at a damp Molineux.

Mauricio Pochettino empathises with supporters angry about the Premier League’s decision to move Chelsea’s trip to Wolves to Christmas Eve, admitting it has thrown his festive plans and anniversary celebrations with his wife into chaos.

The league confirmed on Thursday that the fixture, which has been pushed back 24 hours to accommodate TV coverage, will be the first played on December 24 since Manchester United played Leeds in 1995, a move that has drawn a backlash from fans.

Scheduled for a 1pm kick-off, it could leave supporters struggling to make travel arrangements with train timetables typically amended or curtailed the day before Christmas, while there are also concerns it will impact time supporters traditionally spend with family.

Pochettino is set to be doubly affected by the move, as not only is it Argentinian custom to begin Christmas celebrations late on December 24, the previous day also marks his and his wife’s 31st wedding anniversary – which he will now spend travelling to Wolverhampton.

Despite not being consulted by the league he conceded that the club has little choice but to go along, but backed objections by supporters who have spoken out.

“It’s a little bit strange but we need to accept the rules of the Premier League, that we need to go there and to play,” said Pochettino.

“(In Argentina) we celebrate on the night of the 24th. At 12 o’clock on the night we start to celebrate Christmas. More than the 25th because you’re asleep nearly all day. Here it’s different because you celebrate on the 25th with the family.

“I need to see things in a different way. For sure our fans are not happy but we need to accept this new era in football.

“(The Premier League) didn’t ask us. They wanted some meeting with me and all the coaches one week before the season. I said I’m more than happy to share time with you, but it’s better if you prepare the meeting before the end of the season to prepare the next season.

“If they ask me I will give my opinion, but at the moment we are not involved in the decisions.”

He added: “I don’t know what to do (with my wife). I need to find some ideas to compensate. (Search online for) ‘unhappy wife’.”

The Wolves game is the first of three in seven days for Chelsea over the Christmas period, with Crystal Palace due at Stamford Bridge on the evening of December 27 before visiting Luton on December 30.

The Palace game has been moved from Boxing Day in order to accommodate the controversial Christmas Eve fixture.

Pochettino reiterated that supporters’ concerns must be paramount in scheduling decisions.

“We play and we work and all that we are doing is for our fans,” he said. “Without fans, football (is nothing). We need to protect, and to care, and to look after our fans.

“Of course I agree with them, that I am not happy if they are not happy. It’s common sense. I can understand.

“I don’t know what is behind it. I don’t know why. No one explained. I cannot tell. I hope it’s one time and never again, but we’ll see what happens.

“People love football in England and they are going to be there. Our fans are going to be there supporting the team. But I don’t know if it’s going to be a regular situation.”

Asked whether the club would offer a new contract to Conor Gallagher – who has captained the side in the absence of injured pair Reece James and Ben Chilwell – Pochettino likened the situation to the balancing act he now faces on the home front.

“It’s like how we were talking about my wife,” he said. “It’s about to match and to feel good being together. It’s like a marriage with the club. They both need to feel good, then you can drive at a good deal.

“He is a player that is doing fantastic. He’s an amazing player and we’re so happy with the way he is doing things.”

Newcastle midfielder Sandro Tonali has been ruled out of Saturday’s Premier League clash with Wolves after FIFA ratified his 10-month ban.

The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) confirmed on Thursday that the 23-year-old had been suspended until next season after agreeing a plea bargain as part of an investigation into illegal betting activity.

On Friday morning Newcastle said they had yet to be officially informed of the ban, and the £55million summer signing from AC Milan was therefore expected to travel to the Midlands with the rest of the squad.

But FIFA later confirmed the request submitted by the FIGC to extend the sanction it imposed on Tonali to have worldwide effect has now been granted.

Magpies head coach Eddie Howe said at his morning press conference: “It’s a difficult one because we haven’t had official confirmation as a football club yet.

“We’ve heard the news, the statement, but we haven’t had anything from the Italian authorities at the moment, so we’re in limbo, really, waiting for that official confirmation to come through.”

Asked if there was a chance the Italy international could be involved at Molineux, Howe added: “Yes, I think there’s a high chance again that he could be available for us.

“I still think there are a few things that have to happen before the ban is imposed, so let’s see.”

The Italy international was also fined 20,000 euros and will have to undergo eight months of therapy as well as carrying out a series of public appearances.

Tonali found himself at the centre of a probe during this month’s international break into breaches of betting rules and was alleged to have wagered on games involving former clubs Brescia and Milan during his spells with them.

Agent Giuseppe Riso has claimed Tonali is living with a “gambling addiction” and the Magpies have vowed to support him as he attempts to deal with that, but as it stands he remains available for selection at a time when Howe’s midfield resources have been depleted by a back injury which will sideline Elliot Anderson for eight weeks, while Jacob Murphy is awaiting a verdict on the shoulder he dislocated against Dortmund.

The Magpies boss, who will be without striker Alexander Isak following a recurrence of a groin problem, said: “At the moment, he’s travelling with us. We’re preparing as if he’s fit and available to play.”

In the longer term, Howe knows Tonali faces a difficult spell on the sidelines – the club does not yet know whether he will be able to train with his team-mates – and one which will have to be carefully managed.

He said: “Certainly with Sandro’s situation, if he is ultimately banned for that length of time, he’s going to have really difficult moments within that timeframe, a lot of attention on him initially, and that’s a difficult situation for him.

“But then no doubt there’ll be a period where it’s just training – wherever he trains – and no game, and that’s very difficult for any player to adjust to, especially when they’re fit and able to play, so that’s going to be a difficult one.

“The communication between us, me and my coaching staff and him, is going to be hugely important.”

Newcastle midfielder Sandro Tonali could be involved in Saturday’s Premier League clash with Wolves despite being handed a 10-month ban.

The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) confirmed on Thursday that the 23-year-old had been suspended until next season after agreeing a plea bargain as part of an investigation into illegal betting activity.

However, Newcastle say they are yet to be officially informed of the ban, which is yet to be ratified by world governing body FIFA and, as it stands, the £55million summer signing from AC Milan was due to travel to the Midlands on Friday afternoon with the rest of the squad.

Magpies head coach Eddie Howe said: “It’s a difficult one because we haven’t had official confirmation as a football club yet.

“We’ve heard the news, the statement, but we haven’t had anything from the Italian authorities at the moment, so we’re in limbo, really, waiting for that official confirmation to come through.”

Asked if there was a chance the Italy international could be involved at Molineux, Howe added: “Yes, I think there’s a high chance again that he could be available for us.

“I still think there are a few things that have to happen before the ban is imposed, so let’s see.”

The Italy international was also fined 20,000 euros and will have to undergo eight months of therapy as well as carrying out a series of public appearances.

Tonali found himself at the centre of a probe during this month’s international break into breaches of betting rules and was alleged to have wagered on games involving former clubs Brescia and Milan during his spells with them.

What the papers say

Newcastle United will look to bolster their midfield with Al Hilal’s former Wolves midfielder Ruben Neves, The Sun reports. The move comes after Newcastle’s Italian midfielder Sandro Tonali was banned for 10 months for betting breaches.

Chelsea are looking to sign teenage midfielder Gavi, who may leave Barcelona due to financial restrictions. The Daily Express says Barcelona could sell the Spaniard for £87million. Gavi has played in two of three Champions League games so far this season and 10 times in La Liga.

Fulham defender Tosin Adarabioyo is reportedly ready to sign a new long-term deal with the club after boss Marco Silva signed a new contract, according to the Standard.

Social media round-upPlayers to watch

Julian Alvarez: Manchester City would only sell the 23-year-old Argentinian forward for £80million or more, Football Insider reports.

Kevin de Bruyne: Football Insider also says Saudi Pro League clubs are interested in bringing the 32-year-old Manchester City midfielder to the league in 2024.

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