Steve Cooper has slammed VAR after Nottingham Forest were robbed of a penalty during their 2-0 defeat to Manchester United. The Reds were denied a spot-kick in the first half, despite Harry Maguire appearing to handle in the box.
At the time, the score was 0-0. Maguire had been booked early doors and had Simon Hooper been advised to change his decision, he might have had to send the defender off.
Somehow, VAR didn’t recommend that Hooper go over to the screen to take a look at the decision. Not only was it a clear handball but had Maguire not intervened, Scott McKenna would have had a free header from three yards.
Forest went on to lose the game 2-0. Antony opened the scoring for United, with Diogo Dalot scoring his first goal for the Red Devils in the second half to secure the victory.
Cooper couldn’t get his head around the call. He had sympathy for the referee on the field but couldn’t understand why the VAR hadn’t decided to overturn it after looking it over.
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He told Nottinghamshire Live: “They’re having a tough time the referee department at the moment. The Harry Maguire one, I’m really, really struggling to get my head around it, especially with VAR.
“It’s happened too many times, for me. We are on the back end of one this week. I’ll say for the third time, it’s not why we lost the game. But I don’t think these errors should be happening.
Cooper has slammed VAR and he’s dead right
The incident involving Maguire is exactly why clubs and managers campaigned for VAR in the first place. To get it wrong when it’s so blatantly obvious is just annoyingly bad.
In truth, referee Hooper had a good game yesterday. For him to spot that on the field was always going to be challenging but for VAR to miss it too is just completely unforgivable.
Cooper is right to say that the decision didn’t cost Forest the game. They still failed to do the basics right for a large chunk of the game and ultimately they were poor again.
Receiving an apology from Howard Webb isn’t good enough though. The Reds desperately needed something from yesterday’s game and had they scored first, a point would have been there for the taking.