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Aston Villa boss Dean Smith warns ’embarrassing’ VAR is sucking the fun out of the game 

It has got to the point where Dean Smith laughs when he talks about VAR as though it is a joke. The trouble is the Aston Villa manager has to laugh or else he would launch into a tirade about how VAR has sapped the life out of football.

‘Embarrassing,’ was the word Smith used quite rightly after Wesley was judged, according to VAR, to have obstructed Brighton goalkeeper Mat Ryan before Conor Hourihane crashed the ball into the away net. Referee David Coote’s view that it was a 50/50 challenge was overturned by officials at Stockley Park but surely it didn’t pass the threshold required for them to do so.

Smith has been on the receiving end of decisions against Arsenal, Burnley and Crystal Palace, but this one didn’t match with what he had been told in pre-season.

Dean Smith believes VAR is draining the entertainment out of Premier League football

Dean Smith believes VAR is draining the entertainment out of Premier League football

‘For that to be the first subjective decision I’ve seen just threw me totally,’ Smith said. ‘The criteria is clear and obvious and that wasn’t clear and obvious and unless I missed a memo over the international break then nothing has changed.’

It was a bizarre experience for anyone inside Villa Park. It wasn’t until Coote neared the centre circle that he took advice from Stockley Park and ruled out the goal.

Ultimately, it wouldn’t matter as Jack Grealish, who performed exceptionally in front of England manager Gareth Southgate, equalised from close range before half-time. That cancelled out Adam Webster’s header for Brighton and came after Aaron Mooy’s stupid sending off for two yellow cards.

Referee David Coote controversially ruled out Conor Hourihane's goal after consulting VAR

Referee David Coote controversially ruled out Conor Hourihane’s goal after consulting VAR

The concern for Smith, though, is that he feels VAR has already set a dangerous precedent.

And when Grealish supplied Matt Targett for Villa’s winner in the 94th minute, the home crowd didn’t respond as they usually would to a late goal.

It led Smith to ponder the consequences had VAR dared to suggest the goal was illegitimate.

Smith suggested Villa fans may have been reluctant to celebrate Matt Targett's winning goal

Smith suggested Villa fans may have been reluctant to celebrate Matt Targett’s winning goal

He said: ‘It’s disappointing that we scored a winner with 10 seconds to go and you can’t really celebrate because you’ve got to wait for the process of VAR, which takes an awful lot of the fun out. There might have been a riot here if that had been disallowed at the end.’

Thankfully, for Grealish this was a match to celebrate. He may well have created six chances, scoring the equaliser and assisting the winner, but it was his defensive work, particularly a 60-yard dash to block a shot in the second half, which left Smith purring.

‘The things he does are standing out more because of the quality of the teams we are up against in the Premier League,’ he said. 

Original article: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-7594197/Aston-Villa-boss-Dean-Smith-warns-embarrassing-VAR-sucking-fun-game.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ito=1490&ns_campaign=1490

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