Wed. Aug 12th, 2020

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Frank Lampard admits he would like VAR to go in Chelsea’s favour ahead of FA Cup tie with Man United

4 min read

Frank Lampard did not need this week’s outcry from Crystal Palace to put his players on a VAR footing against Manchester United.

Lampard is still smarting from Chelsea goals ruled out, penalties conceded and red card challenges missed during three defeats by United this season.

Plenty of key video decisions seem to be going in favour of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team and he will warn his defenders to be alert, especially when tackling Bruno Fernandes in the penalty box.

Frank Lampard admits he would like VAR to go in Chelsea's favour against Manchester United

Frank Lampard admits he would like VAR to go in Chelsea's favour against Manchester United

Frank Lampard admits he would like VAR to go in Chelsea’s favour against Manchester United

‘It would be nice if VAR worked in our favour in this one,’ smiled Lampard as he prepared for the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley on Sunday.

‘There is always a human element, they have to make a decision. The confusing thing about some of the recent ones — and the one on Thursday (when Palace were denied a penalty) — 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. 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.’

When United won 2-0 at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League in February, Harry Maguire escaped a red card for kicking out at Michy Batshuayi and goals scored by Kurt Zouma and Olivier Giroud were disallowed by VAR Chris Kavanagh.

Plenty of key video decisions seem to be going in favour of United recently – especially when tackling Bruno Fernandes (right) in the penalty box

Plenty of key video decisions seem to be going in favour of United recently – especially when tackling Bruno Fernandes (right) in the penalty box

Plenty of key video decisions seem to be going in favour of United recently – especially when tackling Bruno Fernandes (right) in the penalty box

At Selhurst Park on Thursday, Palace chairman Steve Parish fumed ‘is the VAR broken’ when he saw no penalty awarded for a trip on Wilfried Zaha before United dashed down the other end to go 1-0 up. 

What would have been an equaliser by Jordan Ayew was later disallowed for offside, the seventh scored against United and then wiped out during this inaugural season of VAR in English football.

No top-flight team has been reprieved more often and United have also been awarded penalties 13 times this season, equalling a Premier League record.

Fernandes, signed in January, has quickly acquired a reputation as a skilled tumbler in the penalty area and Lampard will remind his defenders not to offer the Portugal midfielder a leg to fall over.

‘That’s an important part of defending,’ he said. ‘They have to be careful because when players of such high quality and speed as the United forwards travel quickly you have to move your feet and not dive in.

‘You understand the qualities of the opposition with players like that, and Fernandes because he’s very clever in his movement. We saw that at Aston Villa to make something feel like a penalty where maybe it even isn’t.

‘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.’

Marcus Rashford has twice opened the scoring from the spot against Chelsea this season, first as United won 4-0 at home in August and again in the Carabao Cup in October. Then came the VAR controversies of that night in February which Lampard described at the time as ‘soul destroying’.

Marcus Rashford has twice opened the scoring from the spot against Chelsea this season

Marcus Rashford has twice opened the scoring from the spot against Chelsea this season

Marcus Rashford has twice opened the scoring from the spot against Chelsea this season

‘I’m not into revenge,’ said the Chelsea manager, although he did channel the feeling of injustice at Derby to good effect last season. They lost three times to Leeds and traded allegations about spying before bouncing back to end Marcelo Bielsa’s promotion dream with victory at Elland Road in the play-off semi-final second leg.

‘There was a lot more to that, a lot of off-the-field stuff,’ said Lampard. ‘I don’t want to get caught up in that “we must have revenge”. In the League we are fighting and 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’s 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.

‘It’s two big teams going against each other and we want to win.’

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