Juan Mata's attitude to VAR is very refreshing 1 year ago

Juan Mata's attitude to VAR is very refreshing

"I'm up for it. I think it's needed."

Romelu Lukaku scored both goals for Manchester United in their 2-0 win over Huddersfield Town in the FA Cup on Saturday. However, the main talking point from the match was Juan Mata's disallowed goal.

Mata was played in by Ashley Young, he rounded Jonas Lössl and scored with his right foot. But the goal was ruled out because Mata's knee was marginally offside. The Video Assistant Referee, which is being used in this season's FA Cup, took a couple of minutes to come to a decision. And even then, it wasn't entirely clear if the correct call had been made thanks to some wobbly lines. It was a somewhat farcical end to the half.

BT Sport later showed an image which confirmed that Mata was slightly offside before he scored the goal.

This time, the line drawn to show he was offside was straight.


However, the wobbly lines, the delay in reaching a decision and the fact Mata was only marginally offside led to much consternation amongst the BT pundits and on social media, and it will undoubtedly be a talking point for football fans over the next few days.

Yet, we should all probably follow Mata's lead on the issue of VAR. When asked about the incident, the Spanish midfielder brushed it off, saying that he supports the introduction of a video referee, and he just hopes the process will speed up, which should happen, because it is just being trialled this season in England.

"I celebrated, but apparently VAR showed it was offside. I don't know. It was very tight, right?" Mata told BT Sport after United's 2-0 victory.

"The important thing was that it didn't really matter because we won anyway. But it was the first time I met Mr VAR. You know what? I'm up for it. I think it's needed, specifically when there is a clear decision that can change the game, like a goal, offside, red card, but hopefully it will be quicker.

"But I think it's good for football to be more fair. I scored a goal, I celebrated and when I came to the dressing room they told me that even on the TV, it wasn't very clear. If the VAR is not clear, what can you do?"

There are arguments for and against a video referee system in football, but it's probably worth giving it a try and accepting that it won't work perfectly straight away.

You can watch Mata's interview here: