02 Mar Pochettino keen to help develop VAR process
Mauricio Pochettino is willing to discuss Video Assistant Referee technology with English football’s authorities as criticism of the system grows.
After Wednesday’s 6-1 defeat of Rochdale in the FA Cup, the Tottenham manager labelled VAR’s influence “embarrassing” when, among its many lengthy interventions, Erik Lamela had what appeared a legitimate goal disallowed and Lucas Moura was denied a penalty.
His full-back Danny Rose similarly described it as “complete nonsense”, but the respected Pochettino – who turned 46 on Friday – is happy to talk to referees’ body Professional Game Match Officials Limited about how it can be improved.
“If the people in charge want to talk with us, we are of course open to help the VAR,” he said ahead of Saturday’s fixture with Huddersfield. “I think many things, but I’d prefer to talk to the people in charge than to express my opinions in public.
“The first half was a bit embarrassing. It didn’t help football or the spectacle. We can do better: we can help.
“Maybe it’s a rush to take a decision (to use VAR in the Premier League) for next season here. We need to try to help, and assist the referees, and not lose time or stop games in the way it was Wednesday.”
On Saturday Spurs host Huddersfield and potentially their former midfielder Alex Pritchard at Wembley, where they will hope to strengthen their pursuit of a top-four finish.
They remain without Toby Alderweireld, owing to a hamstring injury that means he is likely to miss Wednesday’s Champions League fixture with Juventus, but fellow defender Jan Vertonghen is again in contention following an ankle problem.
“We need to be cautious with Alderweireld, we need to assess every day,” Pochettino said. “I don’t believe he can be ready for Juventus, but I’m happy because Jan can be back again, and maybe is available (for Huddersfield).
“Huddersfield is the most important game for us: it’s an important three points in the battle for the top four. We cannot think of the game after: we need to be focused and ready to compete. It’ll be tough, because Huddersfield are in a position where they need points too.
“We’re on a run of 16 games unbeaten: that’s what we need to do, be consistent.
“Every season, the teams that are promoted from the Championship are stronger and show more quality. Huddersfield’s a very good team with a lot of quality and a good manager (David Wagner): I like him. It’ll be tough.
“I hope to celebrate (my birthday) with a good performance and three points.”