Var will turn sup­port­ers off foot­ball, warns Mour­inho

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport - at Bra­mall Lane By Mike McGrath

Jose Mour­inho has warned that Var rules will lead to fans turn­ing away from foot­ball, af­ter Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur were harshly de­nied a goal through new hand­ball laws in a 3-1 de­feat at Sh­effield United.

Harry Kane had found the back of the net but video as­sis­tant ref­eree Michael Oliver, watch­ing from Stock­ley Park, ruled out the goal when the ball hit Lu­cas Moura’s shoul­der in the build-up as the Brazil­ian fell to the floor. Moura had been fouled and had no con­trol over his “as­sist” as his back was to the ball, which left Mour­inho in­sist­ing that Var now has too much con­trol. “I never com­plain with the man with the whis­tle be­cause it is not the ref­eree any more,” he said.

“I used to com­plain, I used to go to the fourth of­fi­cial, but the man on the pitch is the as­sis­tant ref­eree and to­day the man and lady with the flags, they are the as­sis­tant of the as­sis­tant ref­er­ees. The ref­eree is in the of­fice. I think the ref­eree should al­ways be the man on the pitch and the peo­ple in the of­fice should just sup­port. We are go­ing in a re­ally bad di­rec­tion for a game ev­ery­one fell in love with.”

San­der Berge had opened the scor­ing when Kane’s goal was chalked off. Lys Mous­set dou­bled the lead and Oli McBurnie added a third, be­fore Kane pulled one back.

Mour­inho was un­happy with his team’s re­ac­tion af­ter the Var call. “We have to be men­tally stronger, to cope with what hap­pened dur­ing the game,” he said.

Chris Wilder has been due some luck with tech­nol­ogy and Var could not have been kinder in get­ting Sh­effield United’s bid for Euro­pean foot­ball back on track, while dent­ing the hopes of Jose Mour­inho.

Mour­inho was pre­dictably and un­der­stand­ably fu­ri­ous with the call from Michael Oliver in Stock­ley Park, dis­al­low­ing Harry Kane’s goal with the match in the bal­ance when the ball had been kicked against Lu­cas Moura’s shoul­der in the build-up while the Brazil­ian was pros­trate. It mat­tered lit­tle to Wilder, who ex­acted re­venge af­ter his team were de­nied a win at Tot­ten­ham by the finest of off­side calls when John Lund­stram’s toe foiled David McGoldrick, with re­plays look­ing in­con­clu­sive.

They were also de­nied af­ter Hawk-Eye tech­nol­ogy failed com­pletely at As­ton Villa, when they had the ball in the net in their first game of Project Restart. At last, for­tune went their way, with San­der Berge and Lys Mous­set scor­ing ei­ther side of their re­prieve and Oli McBurnie adding a third.

“We are the un­of­fi­cial cham­pi­ons of Europe for de­ci­sions against us, so I to­tally un­der­stand their man­ager’s frus­tra­tion,” Wilder said. “It wasn’t in­ten­tional, but we had the same with John Egan at Brighton. We’ve had the rub of the green; it’s well over­due.”

Mour­inho’s chances of reach­ing the Cham­pi­ons League places were al­ways slim, while Sh­effield may have re­gained some of the mo­men­tum lost dur­ing the break. They have re­turned with their pas­sion­ate fans no longer in the stands, tech­nol­ogy fail­ing them and a crip­pling in­jury list. To em­pha­sise how badly Wilder’s squad has been hit, only seven of the al­lot­ted nine sub­sti­tutes were named. Wilder spot­ted Michael Brown, the for­mer Tot­ten­ham and Sh­effield United mid­fielder, in front of the me­dia seats and asked if he fan­cied a game.

Jack O’Con­nell has been the big­gest loss at the heart of Wilder’s defence, while Lund­stram and John Fleck were the mid­field heart­beat.

In their ab­sence, it was down to Berge to an­nounce him­self with his first goal since his club record £22mil­lion ar­rival from Genk. The Nor­we­gian was play­ing Cham­pi­ons League foot­ball ear­lier in the sea­son and his goal fin­ished off a sweep­ing move fit to grace Europe’s elite. The opener was to­tally over­shad­owed by the Var con­tro­versy when Spurs went up the other end and Kane had the ball in the net.

In the build-up, Moura had been fouled and, as he fell to the floor, Egan’s clear­ance un­in­ten­tion­ally struck him on the top of the arm. That Moura had no con­trol over his “as­sist” meant noth­ing to Oliver look­ing at the re­plays. The ball had touched the Brazil­ian’s arm and the goal was chalked off. Chris Ka­vanagh, the ref­eree, was urged to look at re­plays on the big screen, but the de­ci­sion had been made. Mour­inho was livid, re­ceiv­ing a warn­ing that his be­hav­iour could see him sent to the stands. His mood did not get bet­ter af­ter Oliver Nor­wood, al­ready booked, caught Son He­ung-min with an el­bow but did not pick up a sec­ond yel­low.

Ri­cardo For­mosinho, Mour­inho’s as­sis­tant, led the protests to Ka­vanagh at half-time. The sec­ond goal came from a sim­i­lar po­si­tion to the first, with Spurs’ con­cen­tra­tion go­ing as Ben Os­born raced into a dan­ger­ous po­si­tion. He re­leased Enda Stevens, who crossed for Mous­set to tap in. McBurnie scored at the near post from Berge’s fizzing cross. Kane pulled one back at the end, fin­ish­ing from close range.

Flash­point: Lu­cas Moura is ad­judged to have han­dled, rul­ing out Harry Kane’s goal

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