Pep Guardiola has claimed VAR officials and on-field referees need to “be more humble” rather than have a status that the Manchester City manager compared to A-list actors waiting to be awarded Oscars for starring roles.
Football’s officiating is under fierce scrutiny after the disallowing of a Luis Díaz strike for offside in Liverpool’s 2-1 defeat at Tottenham on Saturday when the Premier League match was goalless. Cristian Romero was playing Liverpool’s Díaz onside but the VARs, Darren England and Dan Cook, failed to overrule the decision of the referee, Simon Hooper. Instead, England called “check complete” because he did not realise the goal had been chalked off.
Guardiola was asked about VAR. He said: “They will have to find a system where the main roles are the players and the game itself. In all the countries, not just here. The referees and the VARs are the leading roles … ‘And the Oscar goes to …’ They have to make a step back. It’s the players. Some games, be more humble and leave the players to do what they have to do, and they will be better.
“I understand completely how upset Liverpool must be in that case. It could be another club but the bosses of the referees will decide what we have to do and we will follow them.
“Everyone knows they made a mistake and Liverpool suffered the big consequence of that. In this type of game it is so important.”
City face RB Leipzig in their second Champions League group game on Wednesday, having beaten Red Star Belgrade 3-1 in their opening match. Their flight to Saxony on Tuesday was delayed because of dangerous conditions in Leipzig.
“It’s fly safe and land safe, that’s the important thing,” Guardiola said, speaking from Manchester. “It’s not at 7pm, you have to do it at 9pm and it’s not a problem.
“The authorities said it was so risky to fly before so that’s why we made the training session longer and the lunch longer.”
City won the Champions League last season as part of the treble in which a third consecutive league title was secured. Rúben Dias is intent on a repeat. “More beautiful than one Champions League is two in a row and the same for the FA Cup,” the defender said.
“More beautiful than three Premier Leagues in a row is four. The motivation couldn’t be any higher.”