Friday 20 September, 2019

Guardiola: Referees can still make mistakes with VAR

Referee Cuneyt Cakir during Manchester City v Tottenham in the Champions League.

Referee Cuneyt Cakir during Manchester City v Tottenham in the Champions League.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola feels the introduction of VAR cannot stop referees making errors after the technology contributed to his side's Champions League exit.

Tottenham's decisive strike in a quarter-final that ended 4-4 on aggregate - Spurs progressing on away goals - was scored by Fernando Llorente, the ball appearing to brush the striker on the arm before his hip diverted it past Ederson.

The goal stood after a VAR review and use of the technology also went against Guardiola' men in added time when Raheem Sterling thought he has completed his hat-trick to send City through, replays showing Sergio Aguero to be fractionally offside in the build-up.

Guardiola has long been a champion of VAR, which was used at last year's World Cup and will be introduced in the Premier League next season after being further tested in English cup competitions this term.

City benefited from VAR not being in use to progress against Swansea City in the FA Cup, while Brighton and Hove Albion knocked out Millwall in a tie that did not have the technology in play either.

But Guardiola accepts it would not have been fair for Tottenham to be denied a first appearance in the Champions League semi-finals due to a goal that should have been disallowed.

"You know my opinion about VAR, you know, nothing changes," Guardiola told a news conference ahead of Spurs returning to Manchester for a Premier League clash on Saturday. "Of course what happened was tough.

"Referees make human mistakes like everyone but VAR is here to help, they can make mistakes even with VAR. Referees can take time, longer... seconds or minutes to see the images, different angles to see.

"Making mistakes with VAR, after that I don't agree, you have to take time to get the right decision. I supported it from the first time, it will be fair. If Raheem scores and they go out to an offside for them it's so tough for Tottenham. I don't like that.

"In the FA Cup, we were a goal away and for Swansea it's not nice. We support it, it is what it is. Other managers might not agree with VAR, but maybe now they are [in agreement]."

Questions have been asked about Guardiola after another relative Champions League failure, the two-time winner of the competition having not reached the final since his second success in three years with Barcelona back in 2011.

"I think it's just life, I qualify for the first final with Barcelona with one shot on target [in their semi-final second leg against Chelsea], you can say we didn't deserve it," he added. 

"After in many situations, I may think we deserved it but I would never say so because the opposition didn't deserve to lose either.

"It's football, it's life, it's not easy and it's complicated. You have to fight against tough opponents and react.

"It was incredible, how we performed [against Spurs on Wednesday]. After 1-2 we scored three goals and another which was a little offside.

"We spoke yesterday and we congratulated each other for what we achieved and we're training in the afternoon.

"We have five games [remaining] in the Premier League and the FA Cup final, tomorrow we have another game against Tottenham and we'll see.

"We'll see today how people recover from the big effort mentally and physically, tomorrow we'll make a big decision. We play early so we'll see in terms of selection."

Get the latest local and international news straight to your mobile phone for free: