Blades boss ‘completely confused’ by red card

Blades boss ‘completely confused’ by red card

LONDON • Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder’s unhappy relationship with VAR (video assistant referee) reached another low on Monday as his side lost 1-0 at Aston Villa having played most of the Premier League match with 10 men.

Wilder was left confused after John Egan was shown a red card in the 12th minute for an apparent tug on the shirt of Villa striker Ollie Watkins who was running clear.

Referee Graham Scott was some distance from the incident but decided, even though his assistant did not flag for a foul, that the challenge had denied a scoring opportunity and sent Egan off for an early shower.

Wilder, who was late for his news conference after trying to quiz the referee on the incident, said it should have been checked by VAR and Scott should have taken another look for himself on the pitchside monitor.

“I just don’t understand why that decision was first made as a straight red and no dialogue with the assistant referee. His actions are a giveaway,” he said.

“It’s difficult to be completely 100 per cent certain from Graham’s position behind both players that they were not grabbing each other.

“My big argument was that the assistant referee was 10 yards away and had the clearest view and he made a decision not to wave his flag for a foul.

“I am completely confused as a professional player and manager for the last 35 years. I am at my most confused about the decisions being made. I am even more confused tonight.”

Wilder’s team were denied a clear goal against Villa in June when goal-line technology failed in the first game after the Premier League restarted from the Covid-19 shutdown.

Last season, Sheffield United also had a goal disallowed by VAR at Tottenham Hotspur when John Lundstram’s toe was ruled to be offside after a lengthy decision-making process.

To make matters worse on Monday, Wilder felt that Villa’s Matt Targett should have been sent off when fouling Chris Basham to concede a first-half penalty, which Lundstram then had his shot well saved by goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez.

Ezri Konsa’s 63rd-minute header then ensured a positive start for Dean Smith’s side who last season escaped relegation by the skin of their teeth.

“Bash does great and puts himself between the ball and the man, there’s no way in a million years he can wrap his foot round the ball and make the tackle. He impedes our player, a chance denied and it’s a red card,” Wilder said.

“It can’t be double jeopardy, it’s a red card, he’s stopped a goalscoring chance. Even if he misses the penalty it’s still 10 vs 10.”