Smith furious at ‘disgraceful’ failure to reverse spot-kick
Dean Smith launched a scathing attack on the video assistant referee after condemning as “disgraceful” the failure to overturn Manchester United’s controversial penalty.
The Aston Villa manager was convinced Var Graham Scott was going to overturn referee Jonathan Moss’s decision and award his team a free-kick after claiming the United midfielder, Bruno Fernandes, had fouled his player, Ezri Konsa, not the other way around.
But Smith was shocked when Scott approved the penalty and claimed the decision proved the turning point in the game as a third successive defeat deepened Villa’s relegation fears.
“It all changed around on the penalty decision,” Smith said. “I can understand Jon getting it wrong, he’s on the pitch, but that goes to Var and I don’t know what they’re looking at. It’s a poor, poor decision. Anybody who has been in football knows Fernandes is trying a double drag-back and his first foot is on top of the ball and his next foot is on Ezri Konsa’s shin.”
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the United manager, felt it was the right decision. “If you try to tackle me, I jump over you and I land on you. I think that’s a foul.”
Villa face Crystal Palace at home on Sunday, with Smith admitting that all the matches were “must win” for his team now. “We’re running out of games, we all know that, there’s only four to go but we’re not going to be playing against Liverpool and Manchester United now. They will be tough games because they’re in the Premier League but if we get back to the way we have been playing since we started we will win games.”
Solskjaer lauded Mason Greenwood after the 18-year-old striker scored his 16th goal of the season. “It’s all down to him,” Solskjaer said. “He can go as far as he wants to. How far can he go? Very [far].”