Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag accused the wrong implementation of VAR being responsible for their loss against FC Copenhagen
Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag blamed the wrong use of VAR cost his team a victory against FC Copenhagen. The Red Devils held a comfortable two-goal advantage against Copenhagen until a VAR review resulted in Marcus Rashford receiving a red card.
United lost 4-3 to the Danish side in the Champions League Group A clash which has catastrophic implications. They are currently last in the Champions League group table and facing elimination from the competition before the knockout stages.
The Red Devils have lost nine out of 17 matches in all competitions this season as their struggle for form continues. United have conceded 30 goals and only scored 24 as they face vulnerability in many areas of their game.
Ten Hag told the post-match press conference (h/t Sky Sports) that the officials influenced the game in the wrong way. He said:
“He [Rashford] went for the ball and the referee needs a long time to make it a red card. When you freeze it, it looks worse. I am very disappointed about such a decision. The game is never meant to be like this. This has nothing to do with football. I accept wrong decisions are made but when you make such tough decisions, you control the game.”
Ten Hag implemented new strategies and style of play as United were the better side before the red card incident. Rashford accidentally stepped over the ankles of Elias Jelert while shielding the ball in the 40th minute of the game.
The VAR team asked the on-field referee to review the incident while pausing the screen where Rashford made the contact. Football fans and experts have criticized the officials for such a method that leaves suggestions and influences the on-field referee.
The on-field referee should look at the whole sequence that led to the incident instead of a still picture. A still picture tends to portray a wrong narrative and pressure the on-field referee to give a particular decision.
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Ten Hag‘s frustrations are justified as United appeared comfortable before the red-card incident in a crucial game they needed to win. The Dutchman has to find a way to win both of the remaining two Champions League group games. The inability to reach the knockout stage in the Champions League will be a huge failure for a club of United’s stature.