Steven Gerrard refused to blame a lengthy VAR call that led to an Aston Villa equaliser being ruled out for offside for his team’s elimination from the FA Cup by Manchester United on Monday night, with the manager instead urging his team to “flip” the result when hosting them in the Premier League on Saturday.
Villa lost the third-round tie at Old Trafford 1-0 having conceded Scott McTominay’s early header but then dominated throughout. United also rode their luck as Villa had two goals ruled out in the second half.
The latter was a relatively straightforward offside call against Danny Ings, who had played in Ollie Watkins to poke home from close range. However, the first was more debatable and involved a delay of more than three minutes with VAR calling on the referee, Michael Oliver, to make a judgment after Ings had scored from close range. Oliver consulted the pitchside monitor and eventually ruled that Villa’s midfielder Jacob Ramsey was offside and had impeded Edinson Cavani in the build-up.
“The disappointment was that it took three and a half minutes to iron it out,” said Gerrard. “We had the momentum at the time and that three and a half minutes took a lot of the sting out of the game. But it’s not the reason we lost. We need to focus on other things, not just VAR going against us. The players have an opportunity to flip the mood, flip the feeling [on Saturday]– they have an opportunity at Villa Park to straighten that out.”
Gerrard also brushed off being taunted throughout the tie by the Old Trafford crowd for being a former captain of Liverpool. “It was relatively quiet – I have been to noisier stadiums than this,” he said. “ It was a good Cup tie, a good atmosphere but in terms of what I got, water off a duck’s back.”
Meanwhile United’s interim manager, Ralf Rangnick, defended Marcus Rashford, who performed poorly against Villa and has now gone 11 games without scoring, his worst run since the 2016-17 season.
“He’s trying hard, done well in training in the last couple of days,” said the 63-year-old. “In the first half we found him quite often – the second half not as often and so we decided to make changes with Anthony Elanga and Jesse Lingard [coming on for Rashford and Bruno Fernandes].”
Source: The Guardian