‘Disgraceful’ VAR call over Manchester United penalty decision changed game, says Aston Villa boss

Aston Villa manager Dean Smith labelled the decision to uphold a penalty awarded to Manchester United on Thursday night a “disgrace” that changed the course of their Premier League match.

The game was goalless at the time Bruno Fernandes turned on the edge of the box and collided with Villa defender Ezri Konsa, who had his foot planted behind Fernandes – but not initiating any contact as the Portuguese midfielder spun into him.

The penalty was awarded and remained so after the Video Assistant Referee had checked it, with Fernandes scoring United’s first of an eventual 3-0 win from the spot, leaving Smith incredulous more than angry at full time.

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“It’s all changed around on the penalty decision,” he said to Sky Sports after the game.

“I can understand [referee] John [Moss] getting it wrong on the pitch but that goes to VAR and I don’t know what they’re looking at. It’s a disgraceful decision. There’s a screen over there they can look at but they don’t seem to be bothered now.”

When pressed on whether the choice not to overturn the initial call could be deemed as not a clear and obvious error, Smith replied with suitable disdain and pointed out the natural movements that were taking place at the time.

“Anybody who’s been in football knows Fernandes is trying a double dragback. His first foot is on top of the ball, his next foot is on Ezri Konsa’s shin.

“I thought he was going to give (a foul to Konsa).

“I won’t tell you what I was thinking at the time.”

Defeat leaves Villa in 19th place and four points from safety with four games to play, facing a huge game against Crystal Palace at the weekend who themselves have lost four in a row.

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