Sheffield United: Boss responds to VAR suggestion following Nottingham Forest controversy

Paul Heckingbottom refused to be drawn on whether he felt VAR should have been employed during the Championship play-off semi-finals after claiming Sheffield United were denied a penalty when Nottingham Forest visited Bramall Lane on Saturday.

Monday, 16th May 2022, 8:00 am
Updated Monday, 16th May 2022, 8:23 am

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Heckingbottom, who argued Forest “always” wrestle opponents at set-pieces without being punished, argued referee Andre Marriner should have ruled Sander Berge was being impeded by James Garner when they contested a first-half free-kick.

Although the English Football League have confirmed video assistants will help the match officials during this month’s promotion showpiece at Wembley, they decided against introducing them for United’s clash with Steve Cooper’s side and also Huddersfield Town’s meetings with Luton Town.

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Sander Berge scored for Sheffield United against Nottingham Forest: Simon Bellis / Sportimage

Asked by The Star if that was a mistake following the first leg of his team’s meeting with Forest, which the visitors won 2-1, Heckingbottom replied: “We can’t seem to win with some of this, because we’ve had some stinkers (of decisions) lately. I’m not going to cry over spilt milk. What’s done is done, unfortunately. We’ll just get on with it.”

United contest the deciding leg of their contest with Forest at the City Ground tomorrow.

Referee Andre Marriner consults VAR during a Premier League fixture at Sheffield United: Andrew Yates/Sportimage

“We pushed too early at times,” said Heckingbottom, after watching Berge give United hope following strikes from Jack Colback and Brennan Johnson. “We still have to keep the door shut at the other end. The game was set up perfectly for them but then, with Sander scoring, it’s game on now. It’s possible and that has totally changed the complexion of what is happening.”

Sheffield United's manager Paul Heckingbottom (left) encourages their players as Nottingham Forest manager Steve Cooper looks on during the Sky Bet Championship play-off semi-final, first leg match at Bramall Lane, Sheffield: Martin Rickett/PA Wire.