What Steve Bruce said about Newcastle’s VAR-assisted victory over Sheffield United

Steve Bruce expressed sympathy for Sheffield United after a confusion caused by VAR helped propel his team to victory at Bramall Lane.

Thursday, 5th December 2019, 11:19 pm

The Newcastle United manager insisted the “right decision” had been made when Jonjo Shelvey’s second-half goal was allowed to stand despite an offside flag being raised.

Acknowledging it “felt strange” when United’s defence stopped - Dean Henderson effectively allowing the midfielder to slide the ball into the net - Bruce suggested it would make it easier for players and coaches alike if assistant referees did not attempt to intervene.

“Down the line, we’re going to have one of those I’m sure,” Bruce said. “So I know how Chris (Wilder) is going to feel. The right decision was made.

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Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce reacts during the Premier League match at Bramall Lane, Sheffield. Danny Lawson/PA Wire

“But for me, why does the linesman have to put his flag up when it’s that close? Why not just leave it down because every goal is checked by VAR anyway. Jonjo carried on, as the directive handed down at the start of the season told us. But I can understand why Chris will feel like he does.”

Newcastle were leading 1-0 courtesy of Allan Saint-Maximin’s first goal for the club when Shelvey converted. Although the controversy surrounding his effort deflated United, they had posed serious questions of the visitors until that point with Martin Dubravka producing superb saves to twice deny OIiver McBurnie and also Enda Stevens.

The result saw United lose by more than a single goal for the first time since the beginning of last term and Bruce, a former United and Sheffield Wednesday manager, added: “We knew it would be a tough place to come and, for the last 48 hours, we’ve been telling the boys that.

“They’re a very good team and we had to dig in, especially first-half when our goalkeeper has made a few world class saves.”