Mauricio Pochettino has criticised the use of VAR in Tottenham’s 6-1 win over Rochdale, suggesting the technology is taking the emotion out of football.
A number of bizarre VAR-related decisions turned the first half of Wednesday’s FA Cup replay at Wembley into a farce.
Erik Lamela had an early goal ruled out after Fernando Llorente was adjudged to have fouled a Rochdale defender in the build-up – replays showed there wasn’t much in it.
Spurs were then awarded a penalty when Kieran Trippier was pulled to the ground. The challenge began outside of the penalty area, but VAR informed the referee it continued into the box.
Heung-Min Son stepped up and scored the penalty, but the goal was ruled out because Son delayed his run-up, which VAR confirmed (although it was a hazy call once again).
“I am not sure that the system [VAR] is going to help,” said Pochettino (via ESPN). “We love the game that we know. Football is about emotion, we want to keep the emotion.
“The fans are not so happy about what they have seen today. In my opinion we have the best referees in Europe and the world.
“Football is about mistakes. We make mistakes, the players make mistakes, the referees make mistakes. When we watch the action at half time it was difficult to take some decisions. The referee has the last word always.
“But if my opinion is important, there is a lot of work to do. We need to talk, to explain. Because today every one of us was confused. This will not help the football. I am open to help and to analyse, and to make better. If we use this system we need to be sure.
“I think you and the fans and myself all agree, watching today shows it is too early for next season.
“We need to respect our fans and the fans are not happy. You could kill the emotion, and that is why you pay the ticket, when the conditions are so bad.
“Otherwise you stay at home and watch the game on TV. That is my opinion. I am for the new technology but we must be careful when we change the game. We are going to kill emotion. Rather than talking about football we talk about the machine.”
After every goal, the referee appeared to consult VAR over one issue or another, preventing the players and fans from celebrating properly.
Lost in all the controversy was the fact Llorente scored a perfect hat-trick in just 12 minutes. Son even aimed a dig at VAR during the celebrations of Llorente’s third goal.
There are more than a few kinks to iron out when it comes to the technology, which continues to divide football fans despite the fact it’s meant to make things fairer.