Football

Pochettino and Sarri critical of VAR

Spurs' match-winning penalty awarded after ref consulted with video assistant

Both Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino and his Chelsea counterpart Maurizio Sarri were critical of the video assistant referee (VAR) after Spurs' 1-0 League Cup semi-final, first-leg win at Wembley yesterday morning (Singapore time).

The crucial VAR intervention came just before the midway point of the first half as Kane raced through on goal from Toby Alderweireld's pass and appeared to be brought down by Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Initially, referee Michael Oliver did not award a penalty but instead signalled for VAR while the crowd and players watched and waited in a state of some confusion.

After a lengthy delay, to decide whether Kane had actually been onside in the build-up to the goal and whether there had been contact, Oliver pointed to the spot and Kane drilled home what turned out to be the winner on 26 minutes.

After the match, Sarri told Sky Sports: "A few minutes ago, I watched the video from our camera. It was offside. Our camera was in line with Harry Kane.

"Offside with the head, the knee. Offside. It was really important the linesman carried on running, he had a big impact on our defenders.

"I don't think English referees are able to use the system... I think they have to study the system."

Despite VAR benefiting his side, Pochettino was even stronger in his criticism of the technology, saying: "I don't like the VAR.

"It's a system that sometimes kills emotions.

"Today we get the benefit of it, but after watching the World Cup and La Liga, I see that nobody is happy from day one that they started to use it.

"To get the benefit is nice, but I am unhappy to win the game like this."

His players, however, saw things differently.

Said match-winner Kane: "VAR is there for a reason and I'm sure they've got it right...

"I'm used to it after the World Cup, it's a big part of football going forwards."

His Spurs and England teammate Kieran Trippier agreed, adding: "It's important - if VAR wasn't there tonight, Harry would have been given offside...

"It's a work in progress and hopefully it will speed up... Sometimes it can take the momentum out of the game. That's the only criticism I have."

Former English Premier League and Fifa referee Mark Clattenburg, however, believes VAR is being used incorrectly.

He wrote in his Daily Mail column: "I know VAR eventually got the decision right to award Tottenham a penalty and overturn the initial offside, but the officials are going about it the wrong way.

"Assistant referees are flagging for marginal offside decisions. Why are England not following the way Fifa implemented VAR in the World Cup?

"What Fifa recommend is to keep the flag down. If a goal is scored, then the offside decision will be checked by VAR.

"Had Michael Oliver blown his whistle before Kane was brought down, or Kane or the keeper had stopped when they saw the flag, then the wrong decision would have stood."

Fellow former Fifa and EPL official Keith Hackett added that poor training among referees and insufficient communication is making VAR "a farce".

Meanwhile, Spurs have announced that their White Hart Lane return has been delayed until at least March.

Football