Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder has hit out at VAR, questioning whether the video refereeing team was asleep during his side’s defeat to Aston Villa. The Blades were beaten 1-0 on Monday evening, Ezri Konsa getting the only goal of the game in the second half after United defender John Egan was sent off early on.
Wilder was incensed at Villa Park last season when the goal-line technology failed to register the ball crossing the line, and he left frustrated once again.
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His side went down to 10 men after just 12 minutes when match referee Graham Scott showed Egan a straight red. Egan was presumably adjudged to have denied a clear goalscoring opportunity by pulling back Villa’s record signing Ollie Watkins. Put through on goal by a long ball over the top, Watkins was slowed down by Egan, allowing Aaron Ramsdale to come out and reach the ball ahead of him.
“I don’t see how anyone can give that, how anyone at Stockley Park can give it,” Wilder fumed. “Why doesn’t Graham go have a look at it on the monitor? The Premier League directive is that referees are going to use the monitors more and it’s not happened once today.”
Not long after, the Blades earned an opportunity to open the scoring from the penalty spot. Matt Targett tripped Chris Basham in the area and was booked, but John Lundstram missed the resulting spot-kick. Wilder thought Targett should have been sent off to leave both teams with 10 men.
“My interpretation of the double jeopardy rule is that you have to make an effort to get the ball,” he said. “He hasn’t, there’s no way he’s gone for the ball there. No doubt about it, Targett should have been sent off. “He’s given a yellow and you’re waiting for VAR to come in and it doesn’t. Is there anyone there again, are they asleep?”
Sheffield United are without a point after their first two games, following their opening-day defeat to Wolves. Wilder will be looking for his side to make amends in Sunday’s Yorkshire derby, as they host newly-promoted Leeds.