Łukasz Fabiański: Late offside flags make things very uncertain
Łukasz Fabiański said West Ham United’s squad depth was in evidence in Tuesday’s goalless draw at Southampton.
The Irons put in a performance full of determination at St Mary’s Stadium, just 48 hours after coming from behind to draw 2-2 with Brighton & Hove Albion at London Stadium, with debutant Craig Dawson excelling at centre-back and Ryan Fredericks impressing on his first start in three months at right-back.
The reward for their efforts, and those of their teammates, was a first clean sheet in eight Premier League matches, a fifth shutout of the season for the Poland international and another hard-earned point for David Moyes’ side.
It makes things very uncertain and with the obvious ones there is no reason why they have to wait that long. They should just raise the flag and award the offside
“It was a difficult game because we faced a team that had been in good form and was very attack-minded, so we had to be ready for anything,” Fabiański observed. “As a team, we worked really hard to keep that clean sheet and keep ourselves in the game and we managed to create one very good chance which could have given us the win, but overall I think we can be very pleased with the way we defended, that’s for sure.
“The two boys who came into the defence are very experienced players and, in a time like that when the games are coming thick and fast and you need the whole of your squad to be ready to perform, I’m just happy for them because they came in and did really well.
“Daws, especially, that was his first game in the Premier League for us and he looked very good, very confident and very aggressive in the way he defended, which was a real positive. Ryan, as well, has big experience and he did very well against a good side. I’m pleased for them and pleased for all the players because all of us put a really big shift in to get a point from this game.”
Facing a Southampton team which had scored 13 goals in seven previous home matches this season, the Hammers restricted their opponents to just three shots on target, blunting an attack led by England international centre-forward Danny Ings.
Ings did have the ball in the net early on, but the goal was ultimately ruled out by a very late, but correct, offside flag raised against his strike partner Che Adams.
A new Premier League law was introduced this season instructing assistant referees to delay raising their flag until the passage of play is completed, but Fabiański says the law is causing unnecessary confusion.
“I actually spoke about it in the dressing room after the game with Angelo [Ogbonna] and it’s a funny thing because you more or less felt that the striker was offside but he doesn’t want to interfere with the play because it has to be given offside, but the [assistant] referee has to wait [to flag] and I don’t know why he has to wait until he scores,” the No1 explained.
“I know everything will still be checked [by VAR], Angelo tells me that if he makes a tackle or something, it puts him in a very strange situation. At one point he stops because he expects the referee to react, but then the linesman holds it [down] and I think he holds it for a little bit too long, because what’s the point in holding it until he scores?
“I understand it when they are tight situations and when the margin is very narrow but, in the case when they scored, I think it was quite obvious even from my perspective, so I don’t know why they had to wait that long.
“It makes things very uncertain and with the obvious ones there is no reason why they have to wait that long. They should just raise the flag and award the offside.”