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Nemanja Matic reveals major problem Manchester United players have with VAR
- Updated: February 19, 2018
NEMANJA MATIC and his Manchester United team-mates are going cold on the Video Assistant Referee system, even if their manager backs it.
United cruised into the FA Cup quarter-finals after two goals from striker Romelu Lukaku sank Huddersfield at the John Smith’s Stadium.
Lukaku’s brace rendered the VAR's decision to rule out a first-half strike from Jaun Mata meaningless in the end, as United booked a home showdown with Brighton in the last eight.
But the game was still shrouded in controversy as the off-field referee took two minutes to decide Mata was offside as he latched onto Ashley Young’s pass, despite replays showing he was possibly level.
Cue slow hand-clapping from fans, a bemused conversation between the rival managers, and more confusion regarding a system brought in to make such matters clear.
Standing around on the pitch waiting for a decision is all well and good in the warmer months, but Matic reckons the process needs speeding up when the weather is cold, because it will put stars at risk of getting injured.
“We are not sure it was offside but okay, the referee has made a decision, they saw it on TV,” he said.
“It was a little bit strange because you have to wait two minutes to see what happened. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s not.
“I think it will be better for football, they just have to do it a little bit quicker because we waited so long for the decision.
“Two minutes is a long time on the pitch, but overall it will be good for football. It’s normal that referees make mistakes every game and they can refer it to TV, but it needs to be quicker.
“After two minutes we are cold and this is the only problem. Other than that I like it.”
Huddersfield were caught cold first when Manchester United, missing Paul Pogba through illness, took the lead inside three minutes.
Mata sent Lukaku racing into space and the Belgium hitman turned inside Christopher Schindler too easily before drilling his shot inside Jonas Lossl’s near post.
Mata was denied a goal of his own on the stroke of half-time, but there was no doubting United’s second on 55 minutes.
Alexis Sanchez split the Terriers defence with a sublime pass to find Lukaku, who buried the chance to seal the win.
The result was a bit harsh on David Wagner’s men, who fought hard and dominated possession at times without having a killer touch in front of goal.
But beating relegation is all that matters to the Yorkshire outfit and Lossl has urged them to take the same battling form into their remaining league games, starting with next weekend’s crunch trip to rock-bottom West Brom.
“This is the FA Cup and it is about going through, so it was not a success,” he said. “But we played a very, very good game and we have to be proud of that. We have to take that on and I am sure if we’re going to play like this in the last 11 games we stand a good chance.
“We need to use what we can from this game. We showed character ahead of what is a very important run coming up.
“The next game is always the biggest. You’re never going to get me to say anything else. It’s always about the next game and now we have to look forward to West Brom. Every game is a final now.”