Frank Lampard has admitted to concerns that Manchester United are getting a run of VAR decisions in their favour ahead of Chelsea‘s FA Cup clash with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s side at Wembley.
United have had a number of high profile decisions go in their favour this season, the most recent coming on Thursday when Crystal Palace’s Jordan Ayew had a goal ruled out for a marginal offside, before Victor Lindelof appeared to bring down Wilfried Zaha in the box but no penalty was given.
Palace chairman Steve Parrish complained on Twitter, saying “Is VAR broken?”
After Man United’s 2-0 win at Stamford Bridge in February, Lampard complained about VAR ruling out a Kurt Zouma goal and missing a potential Harry Maguire red card incident.
“People said it would favour big teams maybe, because of the pressure or fan influence,” Lampard told reporters on Friday. “But those days are gone. VAR has come in to try and change that, not just favouring teams but just to get the right decision.
“But there is always a human element to VAR, still, and clearly they have to make a decision. The confusing thing about some of the recent ones, and the one on Thursday night, is that it’s a very, very clear and obvious decision that was wrong and didn’t get reviewed and changed.
“A few of those have happened and that is strange. I would like to think that with VAR you have to be level headed. Some might go against you or not, but we seem to be in a period where, in terms of Manchester United, they’ve got a few in their favour. It would be nice if VAR worked in our favour in this one.”
Indeed, Lampard had previously complained that Bruno Fernandes’ penalty against Aston Villa shouldn’t have been given, with VAR not overturning a contentious decision just over a week ago.
It was the third penalty United have won since the restart and Lampard admitted that he will tell his defenders not to dive in against their speedy attack.
“They have to be careful because when players of such high level, quality and speed of the Manchester United forwards travel quickly, you have to move your feet and not dive in on them,” he said.
“That’s an important part of defending at any point in time, but [especially] when you understand the qualities of the opposition, with players like that.
“The players don’t have to give that. As a player, we can talk about VAR decisions and whether they’re right or wrong but if a player is going to dangle a leg and not move their feet, then you obviously do leave yourself open to penalties, VAR or no VAR.”
Chelsea were knocked out of the Carabao Cup and lost both league games to Man United this season. However, Lampard wants his side to put revenge out of their minds and disagrees it is similar to the rivalry that developed between his previous club Derby County and Leeds United last season.
“That was a different circumstance; there was a lot more to that, a lot of off the field stuff,” Lampard concluded. “When I say I’m not too concerned about it, of course, the detail of the game and knowing the quality of their players.
“They counter-attacked us at Old Trafford to great effect, pretty similar at the Bridge, so I won’t go short on those details. What I don’t want to get caught up in is that we must have revenge because of that.
“Because at the moment in the league we are fighting, we are one point ahead, it’s going to be tight, those three defeats are just part of our season, the Carabao Cup is long gone, the FA Cup is what is in front of us and we just respect them for what they are, a very good team with very good individuals, playing in great form.
“The Leeds one was clearly different because of outside things that happened, with Manchester United, it’s two big teams, going against each other and we want to win the game for what it is.”