I have to trust – Julen Lopetegui still backs referees despite recent mistakes
Wolves boss Julen Lopetegui still has faith in referees – despite the club receiving a third apology for mistakes by officials.
Howard Webb, head of referees’ body the PGMOL, apologised to club staff this week after Wolves were denied a penalty at Newcastle.
VAR official Tony Harrington did not intervene after Raul Jimenez was brought down by Nick Pope, with on-field referee Andy Madley having turned down Wolves’ appeals.
They lost 2-1 on Sunday to leave them three points above the Premier League relegation zone.
The apology comes after Webb had already said sorry when Wolves were denied a winner in January’s 2-2 FA Cup third-round draw at Liverpool, Toti Gomes being incorrectly ruled offside after scoring, and after Matheus Nunes was denied a penalty having been fouled by Serge Aurier in the Carabao Cup.
Lopetegui said: “They apologised to us. It’s happened, it’s (in the) past. I have talked about this a lot after the last match. I have to trust – and I trust – in the referees’ work. It’s very hard and very difficult work and the VAR work is important.
“We have limited energy and this energy we have to put in our daily work with the players. It’s done, that’s why we have to look forward.
“It’s not in our hands. In our hands is what is going to happen today in our work. We have to trust, it’s not easy work. It’s true this year we have been unfortunate but we continue trusting them.”
Wolves, who sit 13th, host relegation rivals Leeds on Saturday, with the visitors second-bottom and four points behind the hosts.
Just five points separate the bottom nine teams, with Wolves also facing Nottingham Forest, Everton, Leicester and Crystal Palace in the fight for survival.
Lopetegui added: “It’s not about this five. You are going to have 11 matches in front of you and the important thing is how you face this question. Each match is going to be a challenge, an opportunity to get three points and you have to put the focus in this way.
“The only way I know to be able to compete in football is putting the focus 100 per cent on the next match.
“We have to do our best in all the matches. Each match is different because the strength and characteristics of teams are different. It’s not about being relaxed, it’s about being balanced in your mind, your head and your daily work.”