Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder wonders if Premier League big guns get the edge with VAR
Earlier this season, when folk still believed technology could eradicate human fallibilities and people were excited about the prospect of VAR, Chris Wilder adopted a ‘suck it and see’ stance towards a system he acknowledged would change the dynamic of the game.
A traditionalist at heart, the United manager’s first thought was to rail against the idea.
But he expressed the hope, countless times, that allowing on-pitch decisions to be reviewed by someone with the benefit of slow motion replays and myriad different angles would turn out to be a force for good.
A couple of months on, following a series of controversial incidents involving his team, Wilder must wish he had trusted his instincts.
Although they benefited from VAR during the 2-1 win over Norwich when Chris Basham’s red card was overruled, Wilder still feels raw about the incidents which cost United points against Tottenham and potentially, given the pressure they were applying, Newcastle recently.
So when it was put to him that ‘big’ teams are more likely to receive favourable treatment from VAR officials - “Will referee’s want to get on the wrong side of Jurgen Klopp or Jose Mourinho?” asked one journalist, Wilder admitted he would be interested to discover if anyone had researched the subject.
“I’ve never really thought about it that way,” he said. “I’d like to think it wouldn’t be like that, with bigger teams getting it. Maybe someone can show me some evidence of tight decisions going the other way. I’m not looking for it to be great. I’m just looking for it to be consistent.”