Chelsea’s Pochettino trusts VAR’s ‘car but not the driver’

The video assistant referee (VAR) system needs to be simplified, Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino said, joining criticism of the system after a succession of controversial calls.

Liverpool wrongly had a goal disallowed in its 2-1 Premier League defeat at Tottenham Hotspur last Saturday, with the referee group Professional Game Match Officials Ltd saying the decision was a result of “significant human error”.

The Merseyside club said the VAR error “undermined sporting integrity”.

“I trust in VAR. I trust in the car – but not the driver. That is the problem,” Pochettino told reporters on Friday ahead of his side’s trip to promoted Burnley.

“I was very critical from the beginning, many years ago,” when VAR was introduced, he said.

“I think it’s a good decision to use the technology of whether (the ball) is across the line and if it is offside, to take time is important. Then we can discuss and argue about whether the referee needs to be more involved, to have the last say.”

The Argentine said he understands when referees make mistakes, but it is difficult to empathise when technology makes errors.

“For me, it is about simplifying the situation. The most important is to return to giving (more) power to the referee. I think one step back may make things easier and more clear,” Pochettino added.

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola said he hopes things change after last weekend’s incident.

The Spaniard, speaking ahead of his side’s trip to Arsenal, said VAR officials and referees should be more humble and not seek “an Oscar” by taking the spotlight in the matches.

“It’s a mistake, accept it,” Guardiola said. “It’s always difficult when there is human mistakes. But the machines have to avoid it. At the end of the shift, it’s down to a human being. It happened and, hopefully, it will finish here and improve from that.

“The reason for VAR being implemented was to make our game more right. Hopefully, it will be better in the future.”


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