Brighton & Hove Albion

Brighton & Hove Albion slideshow

Brighton’s Connor Goldson celebrates after scoring against Coventry, who brought 4,500 fans to the south coast; Leicester’s Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy, and Steve Davies scores Rochdale’s late equaliser.
FA Cup fifth round: 10 talking points from the weekend’s action
Brighton’s Connor Goldson celebrates after scoring against Coventry, who brought 4,500 fans to the south coast; Leicester’s Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy, and Steve Davies scores Rochdale’s late equaliser.
Chris Hughton calls on own experience to sustain Brighton’s run in FA Cup
Chris Hughton calls on own experience to sustain Brighton’s run in FA Cup
Chris Hughton calls on own experience to sustain Brighton’s run in FA Cup
Brighton’s Chris Hughton is the only serving Premier League manager to have won the FA Cup as a player.
Chris Hughton calls on own experience to sustain Brighton’s run in FA Cup
Brighton’s Chris Hughton is the only serving Premier League manager to have won the FA Cup as a player.
Chris Hughton calls on own experience to sustain Brighton’s run in FA Cup
Chris Hughton calls on own experience to sustain Brighton’s run in FA Cup
Chris Hughton calls on own experience to sustain Brighton’s run in FA Cup
The magic supply was running dangerously low in the FA Cup fifth round, until Steve Davies scored an unlikely equaliser for Rochdale against Spurs at Spotland. Charlie Eccleshare joins host Thom Gibbs to examine all the weekend's Cup football, and dip a reluctant toe into the increasingly tedious waters of VAR. Former Reading and Chelsea midfielder Steve Sidwell, now with Brighton, talks to Total Football about mid-season tours and whether West Bromwich Albion's ill-fated trip to Barcelona is typical of the genre. Then Telegraph Sport's Chief Football Writer Sam Wallace talks about the Barry Bennell case, and what it means for football as a whole. Here's how to listen: iTunes - https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/id1266640345 Android - http://totalfootball.telegraph.co.uk/feed/ (link must be pasted into a podcast app) Online - https://totalfootball.telegraph.co.uk/
Total Football Podcast: VAR has come in a year too early
The magic supply was running dangerously low in the FA Cup fifth round, until Steve Davies scored an unlikely equaliser for Rochdale against Spurs at Spotland. Charlie Eccleshare joins host Thom Gibbs to examine all the weekend's Cup football, and dip a reluctant toe into the increasingly tedious waters of VAR. Former Reading and Chelsea midfielder Steve Sidwell, now with Brighton, talks to Total Football about mid-season tours and whether West Bromwich Albion's ill-fated trip to Barcelona is typical of the genre. Then Telegraph Sport's Chief Football Writer Sam Wallace talks about the Barry Bennell case, and what it means for football as a whole. Here's how to listen: iTunes - https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/id1266640345 Android - http://totalfootball.telegraph.co.uk/feed/ (link must be pasted into a podcast app) Online - https://totalfootball.telegraph.co.uk/
Manchester United beat Huddersfield to set-up an FA Cup quarter-final against Brighton, while Spurs face a replay against Rochdale following a 2-2 draw in round five.
FD: United advance in FA Cup, Spurs face replay
Manchester United beat Huddersfield to set-up an FA Cup quarter-final against Brighton, while Spurs face a replay against Rochdale following a 2-2 draw in round five.
Manchester United beat Huddersfield to set-up an FA Cup quarter-final against Brighton, while Spurs face a replay against Rochdale following a 2-2 draw in round five.
FD: United advance in FA Cup, Spurs face replay
Manchester United beat Huddersfield to set-up an FA Cup quarter-final against Brighton, while Spurs face a replay against Rochdale following a 2-2 draw in round five.
Manchester United beat Huddersfield to set-up an FA Cup quarter-final against Brighton, while Spurs face a replay against Rochdale following a 2-2 draw in round five.
FD: United advance in FA Cup, Spurs face replay
Manchester United beat Huddersfield to set-up an FA Cup quarter-final against Brighton, while Spurs face a replay against Rochdale following a 2-2 draw in round five.
Manchester United beat Huddersfield to set-up an FA Cup quarter-final against Brighton, while Spurs face a replay against Rochdale following a 2-2 draw in round five.
FD: United advance in FA Cup, Spurs face replay
Manchester United beat Huddersfield to set-up an FA Cup quarter-final against Brighton, while Spurs face a replay against Rochdale following a 2-2 draw in round five.
Manchester United secured an FA Cup quarter-final tie with Brighton & Hove Albion in a manner that can only be ­described as straightforward. Despite the build-up and aftermath being dominated by ­questions over Paul Pogba – a man who may or may not have recovered from ­illness in time for Wednesday’s trip to Seville – they never looked in danger for a moment against a ­determined, gutsy but ultimately limited, Huddersfield Town team. They scored twice from ­lightning quick breakaways and might well have had a third were it not for the latest video assistant referee ­controversy. In many ways, this was the default Jose Mourinho performance: contained, controlled, efficient. And about as exciting as reading a washing machine instruction manual. Still, Mourinho expressed a ­significant degree of satisfaction with what was achieved. Not least because, due to a sudden flurry of injuries – with Pogba succumbing to a bug on the morning of the match – apart from David De Gea, he was unable to give any of his players the weekend off ahead of the critical Champions League tie in Spain against Sevilla. “Look, I didn’t rest one single player so we had every player ­available. I didn’t rest anyone, I brought two kids that played yesterday [Friday] 90 minutes because I don’t have another player,” ­Mourinho ­explained, in what may well have been a dig at Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, who recently named only six substitutes against Burnley, insisting he couldn’t call up youth players ­because they had played the day ­before. "Can we recover some of them for Wednesday? I believe so. I think [Marcus] Rashford, [Ander] Herrera and [Antonio] Valencia have a chance. Paul [Pogba] I don’t know. Marcos Rojo, Phil Jones, ­Marouane, [Fellaini], Zlatan [Ibrahimovic] – I don’t think they have any chance, so we arrive at this crucial moment with some problem.” Gutted I won’t be at Huddersfield but I need to get better. Come on United ���� @ManUtd— Paul Pogba (@paulpogba) February 17, 2018 Mourinho was, understandably, frustrated by Pogba’s late withdrawl. Not least because he had planned to use him in apparently his favourite position – on the left of a midfield three – in a bid to help him recover some form and ­confidence as the business end of the season approaches. Instead, the United manager was obliged to call on the services of the veteran Michael Carrick who, at 36, may be many things – calm, ­accurate, disciplined – but one for future he isn’t. Still, the United manager will have noted one thing about the way his side brushed aside David ­Wagner’s team: Alexis Sanchez’s eye for a killer pass has not been dulled by his move from Arsenal. The Chilean had spent much of the first half looking increasingly dispirited as his team-mates drifted ever deeper in their attempt to smother Huddersfield’s busy ­midfield probing. He could be seen constantly waving colleagues ­forward, when Mourinho might have hoped he had joined them in defensive duties. But just after half time, he took matters into his own hands and supplied the game’s one standout moment: a laser-guided return ball into the path of Romelu Lukaku, who barrelled forward and scored. Sanchez drifted in and out of the game Credit: Getty images The Belgian’s finish – as it had been when he latched on to an ­almost equally telling ball from Juan Mata after just three minutes for the opener – was not as true as he might have hoped. Oddly, that worked to his ­advantage, as Jonas Lossl in the Huddersfield goal seemed to ­misread his shot, perhaps anticipating a clean strike. Throughout his career, Lukaku has tended to score goals in patches. And if, with Sanchez providing a new supply of ammunition, he has rediscovered a scoring touch ­temporarily mislaid after his ­blistering start in a United shirt, his timing could not be better. Certainly his midfield colleague Nemanja Matic, who spent much of the game scurrying and scrapping but seldom dominating possession, seemed relieved that the Lukaku mojo has resurfaced. “He is important for us,” Matic suggested. “It’s very important for his confidence that he is scoring goals and he is a great striker, very strong and he is still young, I am sure he will be important for us ­until the end of the season.” As for Pogba, Mourinho said he had no clue if the Frenchman would be available for the European tie. He could only express hope that his midfield lynchpin enjoys a swift ­recovery. While wildcat rumours circulated after their defeat at ­Newcastle United of a dressing-room bust-up were fanciful, there is no denying that the Frenchman has looked out of sorts of late. While there is relief in the fact his main striker has rediscovered the route to goal, the manager knows that, without a fully committed, fully engaged Pogba, his chances of further advance in Europe are limited indeed.
Paul Pogba could go straight back in to Man Utd team for Sevilla game
Manchester United secured an FA Cup quarter-final tie with Brighton & Hove Albion in a manner that can only be ­described as straightforward. Despite the build-up and aftermath being dominated by ­questions over Paul Pogba – a man who may or may not have recovered from ­illness in time for Wednesday’s trip to Seville – they never looked in danger for a moment against a ­determined, gutsy but ultimately limited, Huddersfield Town team. They scored twice from ­lightning quick breakaways and might well have had a third were it not for the latest video assistant referee ­controversy. In many ways, this was the default Jose Mourinho performance: contained, controlled, efficient. And about as exciting as reading a washing machine instruction manual. Still, Mourinho expressed a ­significant degree of satisfaction with what was achieved. Not least because, due to a sudden flurry of injuries – with Pogba succumbing to a bug on the morning of the match – apart from David De Gea, he was unable to give any of his players the weekend off ahead of the critical Champions League tie in Spain against Sevilla. “Look, I didn’t rest one single player so we had every player ­available. I didn’t rest anyone, I brought two kids that played yesterday [Friday] 90 minutes because I don’t have another player,” ­Mourinho ­explained, in what may well have been a dig at Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, who recently named only six substitutes against Burnley, insisting he couldn’t call up youth players ­because they had played the day ­before. "Can we recover some of them for Wednesday? I believe so. I think [Marcus] Rashford, [Ander] Herrera and [Antonio] Valencia have a chance. Paul [Pogba] I don’t know. Marcos Rojo, Phil Jones, ­Marouane, [Fellaini], Zlatan [Ibrahimovic] – I don’t think they have any chance, so we arrive at this crucial moment with some problem.” Gutted I won’t be at Huddersfield but I need to get better. Come on United ���� @ManUtd— Paul Pogba (@paulpogba) February 17, 2018 Mourinho was, understandably, frustrated by Pogba’s late withdrawl. Not least because he had planned to use him in apparently his favourite position – on the left of a midfield three – in a bid to help him recover some form and ­confidence as the business end of the season approaches. Instead, the United manager was obliged to call on the services of the veteran Michael Carrick who, at 36, may be many things – calm, ­accurate, disciplined – but one for future he isn’t. Still, the United manager will have noted one thing about the way his side brushed aside David ­Wagner’s team: Alexis Sanchez’s eye for a killer pass has not been dulled by his move from Arsenal. The Chilean had spent much of the first half looking increasingly dispirited as his team-mates drifted ever deeper in their attempt to smother Huddersfield’s busy ­midfield probing. He could be seen constantly waving colleagues ­forward, when Mourinho might have hoped he had joined them in defensive duties. But just after half time, he took matters into his own hands and supplied the game’s one standout moment: a laser-guided return ball into the path of Romelu Lukaku, who barrelled forward and scored. Sanchez drifted in and out of the game Credit: Getty images The Belgian’s finish – as it had been when he latched on to an ­almost equally telling ball from Juan Mata after just three minutes for the opener – was not as true as he might have hoped. Oddly, that worked to his ­advantage, as Jonas Lossl in the Huddersfield goal seemed to ­misread his shot, perhaps anticipating a clean strike. Throughout his career, Lukaku has tended to score goals in patches. And if, with Sanchez providing a new supply of ammunition, he has rediscovered a scoring touch ­temporarily mislaid after his ­blistering start in a United shirt, his timing could not be better. Certainly his midfield colleague Nemanja Matic, who spent much of the game scurrying and scrapping but seldom dominating possession, seemed relieved that the Lukaku mojo has resurfaced. “He is important for us,” Matic suggested. “It’s very important for his confidence that he is scoring goals and he is a great striker, very strong and he is still young, I am sure he will be important for us ­until the end of the season.” As for Pogba, Mourinho said he had no clue if the Frenchman would be available for the European tie. He could only express hope that his midfield lynchpin enjoys a swift ­recovery. While wildcat rumours circulated after their defeat at ­Newcastle United of a dressing-room bust-up were fanciful, there is no denying that the Frenchman has looked out of sorts of late. While there is relief in the fact his main striker has rediscovered the route to goal, the manager knows that, without a fully committed, fully engaged Pogba, his chances of further advance in Europe are limited indeed.
Brighton manager Chris Hughton ready to settle another old score - the 1983 FA Cup final - in Man Utd clash
Brighton manager Chris Hughton ready to settle another old score - the 1983 FA Cup final - in Man Utd clash
Brighton manager Chris Hughton ready to settle another old score - the 1983 FA Cup final - in Man Utd clash
Of all the big name managers taking their teams into the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, only one has won it as a player. Brighton manager Chris Hughton lifted the FA Cup for Tottenham Hotspur in 1981 and 1982, and was a losing finalist in 1987. Hughton went some way to avenging his personal 1987 disappointment by leading his Seagulls side to a fifth-round victory over Coventry City, who famously beat Spurs 31 years ago. And now Brighton have the chance to settle a famous old score of their own after being drawn to face Manchester United in the last eight. Brighton lost the 1983 FA Cup final to United after a replay, having drawn the first game at Wembley 2-2 when Gordon Smith famously squandered a chance to win it. Hughton says the final stages of the FA Cup are 'as exciting as ever' Credit: Action Images via Reuters That was the last time Brighton were a top-flight club and Hughton is now combining a bid to stay in the Premier League with the club’s best Cup run since 1986. “I don’t think my own FA Cup record gives me an advantage or an edge, but what I do know is what it means to win it,” said Hughton. “The ’81 Cup final was probably the highlight of my career, so I do know how exciting it is to get there. “Building up to this game against Coventry, a lot of the talk was about the ’87 Cup final, which, of course, I played in and we lost. It has been clear that is still a massive moment in the history of Coventry and you always look forwards to those moments. “People at Brighton still remember ’83 and everything that went with it and that’s because, irrespective of all the changes, it’s still a big moment. “When foreign managers come here, that’s what they know about - the magic of this cup competition. We’ve been very much brought up on it and however much we think it is changing, which it is, I think when you get to the latter stages it’s as exciting as ever.” Hughton made nine changes for the visit of League Two Coventry and saw record signing Jurgen Locadia score on his debut and Leonardo Ulloa net for the first time since returning to Brighton on loan from Leicester City. Connor Goldson was on target in between the two strikers. But Hughton may have to field a stronger side for the trip to Old Trafford, having acknowledged that Brighton had been given a relatively comfortable path to the last eight against Crystal Palace, Middlesbrough and Coventry. “I do think we’ve been lucky,” said Hughton. “Palace here, Middlesbrough away, we have had the squad to be able to make changes and still get through. “At this moment, I don’t know how many changes I will make moving forwards. When you are in a quarter-final, you are one game away from a semi-final so there is a lot to think about.” Hughton will certainly have a selection dilemma among his forwards for the remainder of the season, with top scorer Glenn Murray now facing competition from Locadia and Ulloa. Jurgen Locadia scored Brighton's first on Saturday Credit: REUTERS “It’s probably the only area in the squad that we’ve got a lot of players,” said Hughton. “When you think we’ve got the two that played against Coventry, then Glenn, Tomer (Hemed) and Sam Baldock, we’ve got a lot of options and I knew that would cause some headaches. “But it’s such a vitally important area of the pitch that I wanted those options. Yes, it makes life a bit harder but it’s good to have those options. “We are on a good run at the moment and we have got a good changing room, and a lot of players who are involved. At the moment, we have that good feel.” On £14million signing from PSV Eindhoven, Locadia, Hughton added: “You bring a player in because you watch him and you know the type of player he is, but we are still learning about him. You really learn in the game because training is different, they all train well.”
Brighton manager Chris Hughton ready to settle another old score - the 1983 FA Cup final - in Man Utd clash
Of all the big name managers taking their teams into the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, only one has won it as a player. Brighton manager Chris Hughton lifted the FA Cup for Tottenham Hotspur in 1981 and 1982, and was a losing finalist in 1987. Hughton went some way to avenging his personal 1987 disappointment by leading his Seagulls side to a fifth-round victory over Coventry City, who famously beat Spurs 31 years ago. And now Brighton have the chance to settle a famous old score of their own after being drawn to face Manchester United in the last eight. Brighton lost the 1983 FA Cup final to United after a replay, having drawn the first game at Wembley 2-2 when Gordon Smith famously squandered a chance to win it. Hughton says the final stages of the FA Cup are 'as exciting as ever' Credit: Action Images via Reuters That was the last time Brighton were a top-flight club and Hughton is now combining a bid to stay in the Premier League with the club’s best Cup run since 1986. “I don’t think my own FA Cup record gives me an advantage or an edge, but what I do know is what it means to win it,” said Hughton. “The ’81 Cup final was probably the highlight of my career, so I do know how exciting it is to get there. “Building up to this game against Coventry, a lot of the talk was about the ’87 Cup final, which, of course, I played in and we lost. It has been clear that is still a massive moment in the history of Coventry and you always look forwards to those moments. “People at Brighton still remember ’83 and everything that went with it and that’s because, irrespective of all the changes, it’s still a big moment. “When foreign managers come here, that’s what they know about - the magic of this cup competition. We’ve been very much brought up on it and however much we think it is changing, which it is, I think when you get to the latter stages it’s as exciting as ever.” Hughton made nine changes for the visit of League Two Coventry and saw record signing Jurgen Locadia score on his debut and Leonardo Ulloa net for the first time since returning to Brighton on loan from Leicester City. Connor Goldson was on target in between the two strikers. But Hughton may have to field a stronger side for the trip to Old Trafford, having acknowledged that Brighton had been given a relatively comfortable path to the last eight against Crystal Palace, Middlesbrough and Coventry. “I do think we’ve been lucky,” said Hughton. “Palace here, Middlesbrough away, we have had the squad to be able to make changes and still get through. “At this moment, I don’t know how many changes I will make moving forwards. When you are in a quarter-final, you are one game away from a semi-final so there is a lot to think about.” Hughton will certainly have a selection dilemma among his forwards for the remainder of the season, with top scorer Glenn Murray now facing competition from Locadia and Ulloa. Jurgen Locadia scored Brighton's first on Saturday Credit: REUTERS “It’s probably the only area in the squad that we’ve got a lot of players,” said Hughton. “When you think we’ve got the two that played against Coventry, then Glenn, Tomer (Hemed) and Sam Baldock, we’ve got a lot of options and I knew that would cause some headaches. “But it’s such a vitally important area of the pitch that I wanted those options. Yes, it makes life a bit harder but it’s good to have those options. “We are on a good run at the moment and we have got a good changing room, and a lot of players who are involved. At the moment, we have that good feel.” On £14million signing from PSV Eindhoven, Locadia, Hughton added: “You bring a player in because you watch him and you know the type of player he is, but we are still learning about him. You really learn in the game because training is different, they all train well.”
Brighton manager Chris Hughton ready to settle another old score - the 1983 FA Cup final - in Man Utd clash
Brighton manager Chris Hughton ready to settle another old score - the 1983 FA Cup final - in Man Utd clash
Brighton manager Chris Hughton ready to settle another old score - the 1983 FA Cup final - in Man Utd clash
Of all the big name managers taking their teams into the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, only one has won it as a player. Brighton manager Chris Hughton lifted the FA Cup for Tottenham Hotspur in 1981 and 1982, and was a losing finalist in 1987. Hughton went some way to avenging his personal 1987 disappointment by leading his Seagulls side to a fifth-round victory over Coventry City, who famously beat Spurs 31 years ago. And now Brighton have the chance to settle a famous old score of their own after being drawn to face Manchester United in the last eight. Brighton lost the 1983 FA Cup final to United after a replay, having drawn the first game at Wembley 2-2 when Gordon Smith famously squandered a chance to win it. Hughton says the final stages of the FA Cup are 'as exciting as ever' Credit: Action Images via Reuters That was the last time Brighton were a top-flight club and Hughton is now combining a bid to stay in the Premier League with the club’s best Cup run since 1986. “I don’t think my own FA Cup record gives me an advantage or an edge, but what I do know is what it means to win it,” said Hughton. “The ’81 Cup final was probably the highlight of my career, so I do know how exciting it is to get there. “Building up to this game against Coventry, a lot of the talk was about the ’87 Cup final, which, of course, I played in and we lost. It has been clear that is still a massive moment in the history of Coventry and you always look forwards to those moments. “People at Brighton still remember ’83 and everything that went with it and that’s because, irrespective of all the changes, it’s still a big moment. “When foreign managers come here, that’s what they know about - the magic of this cup competition. We’ve been very much brought up on it and however much we think it is changing, which it is, I think when you get to the latter stages it’s as exciting as ever.” Hughton made nine changes for the visit of League Two Coventry and saw record signing Jurgen Locadia score on his debut and Leonardo Ulloa net for the first time since returning to Brighton on loan from Leicester City. Connor Goldson was on target in between the two strikers. But Hughton may have to field a stronger side for the trip to Old Trafford, having acknowledged that Brighton had been given a relatively comfortable path to the last eight against Crystal Palace, Middlesbrough and Coventry. “I do think we’ve been lucky,” said Hughton. “Palace here, Middlesbrough away, we have had the squad to be able to make changes and still get through. “At this moment, I don’t know how many changes I will make moving forwards. When you are in a quarter-final, you are one game away from a semi-final so there is a lot to think about.” Hughton will certainly have a selection dilemma among his forwards for the remainder of the season, with top scorer Glenn Murray now facing competition from Locadia and Ulloa. Jurgen Locadia scored Brighton's first on Saturday Credit: REUTERS “It’s probably the only area in the squad that we’ve got a lot of players,” said Hughton. “When you think we’ve got the two that played against Coventry, then Glenn, Tomer (Hemed) and Sam Baldock, we’ve got a lot of options and I knew that would cause some headaches. “But it’s such a vitally important area of the pitch that I wanted those options. Yes, it makes life a bit harder but it’s good to have those options. “We are on a good run at the moment and we have got a good changing room, and a lot of players who are involved. At the moment, we have that good feel.” On £14million signing from PSV Eindhoven, Locadia, Hughton added: “You bring a player in because you watch him and you know the type of player he is, but we are still learning about him. You really learn in the game because training is different, they all train well.”
Brighton manager Chris Hughton ready to settle another old score - the 1983 FA Cup final - in Man Utd clash
Of all the big name managers taking their teams into the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, only one has won it as a player. Brighton manager Chris Hughton lifted the FA Cup for Tottenham Hotspur in 1981 and 1982, and was a losing finalist in 1987. Hughton went some way to avenging his personal 1987 disappointment by leading his Seagulls side to a fifth-round victory over Coventry City, who famously beat Spurs 31 years ago. And now Brighton have the chance to settle a famous old score of their own after being drawn to face Manchester United in the last eight. Brighton lost the 1983 FA Cup final to United after a replay, having drawn the first game at Wembley 2-2 when Gordon Smith famously squandered a chance to win it. Hughton says the final stages of the FA Cup are 'as exciting as ever' Credit: Action Images via Reuters That was the last time Brighton were a top-flight club and Hughton is now combining a bid to stay in the Premier League with the club’s best Cup run since 1986. “I don’t think my own FA Cup record gives me an advantage or an edge, but what I do know is what it means to win it,” said Hughton. “The ’81 Cup final was probably the highlight of my career, so I do know how exciting it is to get there. “Building up to this game against Coventry, a lot of the talk was about the ’87 Cup final, which, of course, I played in and we lost. It has been clear that is still a massive moment in the history of Coventry and you always look forwards to those moments. “People at Brighton still remember ’83 and everything that went with it and that’s because, irrespective of all the changes, it’s still a big moment. “When foreign managers come here, that’s what they know about - the magic of this cup competition. We’ve been very much brought up on it and however much we think it is changing, which it is, I think when you get to the latter stages it’s as exciting as ever.” Hughton made nine changes for the visit of League Two Coventry and saw record signing Jurgen Locadia score on his debut and Leonardo Ulloa net for the first time since returning to Brighton on loan from Leicester City. Connor Goldson was on target in between the two strikers. But Hughton may have to field a stronger side for the trip to Old Trafford, having acknowledged that Brighton had been given a relatively comfortable path to the last eight against Crystal Palace, Middlesbrough and Coventry. “I do think we’ve been lucky,” said Hughton. “Palace here, Middlesbrough away, we have had the squad to be able to make changes and still get through. “At this moment, I don’t know how many changes I will make moving forwards. When you are in a quarter-final, you are one game away from a semi-final so there is a lot to think about.” Hughton will certainly have a selection dilemma among his forwards for the remainder of the season, with top scorer Glenn Murray now facing competition from Locadia and Ulloa. Jurgen Locadia scored Brighton's first on Saturday Credit: REUTERS “It’s probably the only area in the squad that we’ve got a lot of players,” said Hughton. “When you think we’ve got the two that played against Coventry, then Glenn, Tomer (Hemed) and Sam Baldock, we’ve got a lot of options and I knew that would cause some headaches. “But it’s such a vitally important area of the pitch that I wanted those options. Yes, it makes life a bit harder but it’s good to have those options. “We are on a good run at the moment and we have got a good changing room, and a lot of players who are involved. At the moment, we have that good feel.” On £14million signing from PSV Eindhoven, Locadia, Hughton added: “You bring a player in because you watch him and you know the type of player he is, but we are still learning about him. You really learn in the game because training is different, they all train well.”
Manchester United secured an FA Cup quarter-final tie with Brighton & Hove Albion in a manner that can only be ­described as straightforward. Despite the build-up and aftermath being dominated by ­questions over Paul Pogba – a man who may or may not have recovered from ­illness in time for Wednesday’s trip to Seville – they never looked in danger for a moment against a ­determined, gutsy but ultimately limited, Huddersfield Town team. They scored twice from ­lightning quick breakaways and might well have had a third were it not for the latest video assistant referee ­controversy. In many ways, this was the default Jose Mourinho performance: contained, controlled, efficient. And about as exciting as reading a washing machine instruction manual. Still, Mourinho expressed a ­significant degree of satisfaction with what was achieved. Not least because, due to a sudden flurry of injuries – with Pogba succumbing to a bug on the morning of the match – apart from David De Gea, he was unable to give any of his players the weekend off ahead of the critical Champions League tie in Spain against Sevilla. “Look, I didn’t rest one single player so we had every player ­available. I didn’t rest anyone, I brought two kids that played yesterday [Friday] 90 minutes because I don’t have another player,” ­Mourinho ­explained, in what may well have been a dig at Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, who recently named only six substitutes against Burnley, insisting he couldn’t call up youth players ­because they had played the day ­before. "Can we recover some of them for Wednesday? I believe so. I think [Marcus] Rashford, [Ander] Herrera and [Antonio] Valencia have a chance. Paul [Pogba] I don’t know. Marcos Rojo, Phil Jones, ­Marouane, [Fellaini], Zlatan [Ibrahimovic] – I don’t think they have any chance, so we arrive at this crucial moment with some problem.” Gutted I won’t be at Huddersfield but I need to get better. Come on United ���� @ManUtd— Paul Pogba (@paulpogba) February 17, 2018 Mourinho was, understandably, frustrated by Pogba’s late withdrawl. Not least because he had planned to use him in apparently his favourite position – on the left of a midfield three – in a bid to help him recover some form and ­confidence as the business end of the season approaches. Instead, the United manager was obliged to call on the services of the veteran Michael Carrick who, at 36, may be many things – calm, ­accurate, disciplined – but one for future he isn’t. Still, the United manager will have noted one thing about the way his side brushed aside David ­Wagner’s team: Alexis Sanchez’s eye for a killer pass has not been dulled by his move from Arsenal. The Chilean had spent much of the first half looking increasingly dispirited as his team-mates drifted ever deeper in their attempt to smother Huddersfield’s busy ­midfield probing. He could be seen constantly waving colleagues ­forward, when Mourinho might have hoped he had joined them in defensive duties. But just after half time, he took matters into his own hands and supplied the game’s one standout moment: a laser-guided return ball into the path of Romelu Lukaku, who barrelled forward and scored. Sanchez drifted in and out of the game Credit: Getty images The Belgian’s finish – as it had been when he latched on to an ­almost equally telling ball from Juan Mata after just three minutes for the opener – was not as true as he might have hoped. Oddly, that worked to his ­advantage, as Jonas Lossl in the Huddersfield goal seemed to ­misread his shot, perhaps anticipating a clean strike. Throughout his career, Lukaku has tended to score goals in patches. And if, with Sanchez providing a new supply of ammunition, he has rediscovered a scoring touch ­temporarily mislaid after his ­blistering start in a United shirt, his timing could not be better. Certainly his midfield colleague Nemanja Matic, who spent much of the game scurrying and scrapping but seldom dominating possession, seemed relieved that the Lukaku mojo has resurfaced. “He is important for us,” Matic suggested. “It’s very important for his confidence that he is scoring goals and he is a great striker, very strong and he is still young, I am sure he will be important for us ­until the end of the season.” As for Pogba, Mourinho said he had no clue if the Frenchman would be available for the European tie. He could only express hope that his midfield lynchpin enjoys a swift ­recovery. While wildcat rumours circulated after their defeat at ­Newcastle United of a dressing-room bust-up were fanciful, there is no denying that the Frenchman has looked out of sorts of late. While there is relief in the fact his main striker has rediscovered the route to goal, the manager knows that, without a fully committed, fully engaged Pogba, his chances of further advance in Europe are limited indeed.
Paul Pogba could go straight back in to Man Utd team for Sevilla game
Manchester United secured an FA Cup quarter-final tie with Brighton & Hove Albion in a manner that can only be ­described as straightforward. Despite the build-up and aftermath being dominated by ­questions over Paul Pogba – a man who may or may not have recovered from ­illness in time for Wednesday’s trip to Seville – they never looked in danger for a moment against a ­determined, gutsy but ultimately limited, Huddersfield Town team. They scored twice from ­lightning quick breakaways and might well have had a third were it not for the latest video assistant referee ­controversy. In many ways, this was the default Jose Mourinho performance: contained, controlled, efficient. And about as exciting as reading a washing machine instruction manual. Still, Mourinho expressed a ­significant degree of satisfaction with what was achieved. Not least because, due to a sudden flurry of injuries – with Pogba succumbing to a bug on the morning of the match – apart from David De Gea, he was unable to give any of his players the weekend off ahead of the critical Champions League tie in Spain against Sevilla. “Look, I didn’t rest one single player so we had every player ­available. I didn’t rest anyone, I brought two kids that played yesterday [Friday] 90 minutes because I don’t have another player,” ­Mourinho ­explained, in what may well have been a dig at Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, who recently named only six substitutes against Burnley, insisting he couldn’t call up youth players ­because they had played the day ­before. "Can we recover some of them for Wednesday? I believe so. I think [Marcus] Rashford, [Ander] Herrera and [Antonio] Valencia have a chance. Paul [Pogba] I don’t know. Marcos Rojo, Phil Jones, ­Marouane, [Fellaini], Zlatan [Ibrahimovic] – I don’t think they have any chance, so we arrive at this crucial moment with some problem.” Gutted I won’t be at Huddersfield but I need to get better. Come on United ���� @ManUtd— Paul Pogba (@paulpogba) February 17, 2018 Mourinho was, understandably, frustrated by Pogba’s late withdrawl. Not least because he had planned to use him in apparently his favourite position – on the left of a midfield three – in a bid to help him recover some form and ­confidence as the business end of the season approaches. Instead, the United manager was obliged to call on the services of the veteran Michael Carrick who, at 36, may be many things – calm, ­accurate, disciplined – but one for future he isn’t. Still, the United manager will have noted one thing about the way his side brushed aside David ­Wagner’s team: Alexis Sanchez’s eye for a killer pass has not been dulled by his move from Arsenal. The Chilean had spent much of the first half looking increasingly dispirited as his team-mates drifted ever deeper in their attempt to smother Huddersfield’s busy ­midfield probing. He could be seen constantly waving colleagues ­forward, when Mourinho might have hoped he had joined them in defensive duties. But just after half time, he took matters into his own hands and supplied the game’s one standout moment: a laser-guided return ball into the path of Romelu Lukaku, who barrelled forward and scored. Sanchez drifted in and out of the game Credit: Getty images The Belgian’s finish – as it had been when he latched on to an ­almost equally telling ball from Juan Mata after just three minutes for the opener – was not as true as he might have hoped. Oddly, that worked to his ­advantage, as Jonas Lossl in the Huddersfield goal seemed to ­misread his shot, perhaps anticipating a clean strike. Throughout his career, Lukaku has tended to score goals in patches. And if, with Sanchez providing a new supply of ammunition, he has rediscovered a scoring touch ­temporarily mislaid after his ­blistering start in a United shirt, his timing could not be better. Certainly his midfield colleague Nemanja Matic, who spent much of the game scurrying and scrapping but seldom dominating possession, seemed relieved that the Lukaku mojo has resurfaced. “He is important for us,” Matic suggested. “It’s very important for his confidence that he is scoring goals and he is a great striker, very strong and he is still young, I am sure he will be important for us ­until the end of the season.” As for Pogba, Mourinho said he had no clue if the Frenchman would be available for the European tie. He could only express hope that his midfield lynchpin enjoys a swift ­recovery. While wildcat rumours circulated after their defeat at ­Newcastle United of a dressing-room bust-up were fanciful, there is no denying that the Frenchman has looked out of sorts of late. While there is relief in the fact his main striker has rediscovered the route to goal, the manager knows that, without a fully committed, fully engaged Pogba, his chances of further advance in Europe are limited indeed.
Brighton manager Chris Hughton ready to settle another old score - the 1983 FA Cup final - in Man Utd clash
Brighton manager Chris Hughton ready to settle another old score - the 1983 FA Cup final - in Man Utd clash
Brighton manager Chris Hughton ready to settle another old score - the 1983 FA Cup final - in Man Utd clash
Of all the big name managers taking their teams into the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, only one has won it as a player. Brighton manager Chris Hughton lifted the FA Cup for Tottenham Hotspur in 1981 and 1982, and was a losing finalist in 1987. Hughton went some way to avenging his personal 1987 disappointment by leading his Seagulls side to a fifth-round victory over Coventry City, who famously beat Spurs 31 years ago. And now Brighton have the chance to settle a famous old score of their own after being drawn to face Manchester United in the last eight. Brighton lost the 1983 FA Cup final to United after a replay, having drawn the first game at Wembley 2-2 when Gordon Smith famously squandered a chance to win it. Hughton says the final stages of the FA Cup are 'as exciting as ever' Credit: Action Images via Reuters That was the last time Brighton were a top-flight club and Hughton is now combining a bid to stay in the Premier League with the club’s best Cup run since 1986. “I don’t think my own FA Cup record gives me an advantage or an edge, but what I do know is what it means to win it,” said Hughton. “The ’81 Cup final was probably the highlight of my career, so I do know how exciting it is to get there. “Building up to this game against Coventry, a lot of the talk was about the ’87 Cup final, which, of course, I played in and we lost. It has been clear that is still a massive moment in the history of Coventry and you always look forwards to those moments. “People at Brighton still remember ’83 and everything that went with it and that’s because, irrespective of all the changes, it’s still a big moment. “When foreign managers come here, that’s what they know about - the magic of this cup competition. We’ve been very much brought up on it and however much we think it is changing, which it is, I think when you get to the latter stages it’s as exciting as ever.” Hughton made nine changes for the visit of League Two Coventry and saw record signing Jurgen Locadia score on his debut and Leonardo Ulloa net for the first time since returning to Brighton on loan from Leicester City. Connor Goldson was on target in between the two strikers. But Hughton may have to field a stronger side for the trip to Old Trafford, having acknowledged that Brighton had been given a relatively comfortable path to the last eight against Crystal Palace, Middlesbrough and Coventry. “I do think we’ve been lucky,” said Hughton. “Palace here, Middlesbrough away, we have had the squad to be able to make changes and still get through. “At this moment, I don’t know how many changes I will make moving forwards. When you are in a quarter-final, you are one game away from a semi-final so there is a lot to think about.” Hughton will certainly have a selection dilemma among his forwards for the remainder of the season, with top scorer Glenn Murray now facing competition from Locadia and Ulloa. Jurgen Locadia scored Brighton's first on Saturday Credit: REUTERS “It’s probably the only area in the squad that we’ve got a lot of players,” said Hughton. “When you think we’ve got the two that played against Coventry, then Glenn, Tomer (Hemed) and Sam Baldock, we’ve got a lot of options and I knew that would cause some headaches. “But it’s such a vitally important area of the pitch that I wanted those options. Yes, it makes life a bit harder but it’s good to have those options. “We are on a good run at the moment and we have got a good changing room, and a lot of players who are involved. At the moment, we have that good feel.” On £14million signing from PSV Eindhoven, Locadia, Hughton added: “You bring a player in because you watch him and you know the type of player he is, but we are still learning about him. You really learn in the game because training is different, they all train well.”
Brighton manager Chris Hughton ready to settle another old score - the 1983 FA Cup final - in Man Utd clash
Of all the big name managers taking their teams into the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, only one has won it as a player. Brighton manager Chris Hughton lifted the FA Cup for Tottenham Hotspur in 1981 and 1982, and was a losing finalist in 1987. Hughton went some way to avenging his personal 1987 disappointment by leading his Seagulls side to a fifth-round victory over Coventry City, who famously beat Spurs 31 years ago. And now Brighton have the chance to settle a famous old score of their own after being drawn to face Manchester United in the last eight. Brighton lost the 1983 FA Cup final to United after a replay, having drawn the first game at Wembley 2-2 when Gordon Smith famously squandered a chance to win it. Hughton says the final stages of the FA Cup are 'as exciting as ever' Credit: Action Images via Reuters That was the last time Brighton were a top-flight club and Hughton is now combining a bid to stay in the Premier League with the club’s best Cup run since 1986. “I don’t think my own FA Cup record gives me an advantage or an edge, but what I do know is what it means to win it,” said Hughton. “The ’81 Cup final was probably the highlight of my career, so I do know how exciting it is to get there. “Building up to this game against Coventry, a lot of the talk was about the ’87 Cup final, which, of course, I played in and we lost. It has been clear that is still a massive moment in the history of Coventry and you always look forwards to those moments. “People at Brighton still remember ’83 and everything that went with it and that’s because, irrespective of all the changes, it’s still a big moment. “When foreign managers come here, that’s what they know about - the magic of this cup competition. We’ve been very much brought up on it and however much we think it is changing, which it is, I think when you get to the latter stages it’s as exciting as ever.” Hughton made nine changes for the visit of League Two Coventry and saw record signing Jurgen Locadia score on his debut and Leonardo Ulloa net for the first time since returning to Brighton on loan from Leicester City. Connor Goldson was on target in between the two strikers. But Hughton may have to field a stronger side for the trip to Old Trafford, having acknowledged that Brighton had been given a relatively comfortable path to the last eight against Crystal Palace, Middlesbrough and Coventry. “I do think we’ve been lucky,” said Hughton. “Palace here, Middlesbrough away, we have had the squad to be able to make changes and still get through. “At this moment, I don’t know how many changes I will make moving forwards. When you are in a quarter-final, you are one game away from a semi-final so there is a lot to think about.” Hughton will certainly have a selection dilemma among his forwards for the remainder of the season, with top scorer Glenn Murray now facing competition from Locadia and Ulloa. Jurgen Locadia scored Brighton's first on Saturday Credit: REUTERS “It’s probably the only area in the squad that we’ve got a lot of players,” said Hughton. “When you think we’ve got the two that played against Coventry, then Glenn, Tomer (Hemed) and Sam Baldock, we’ve got a lot of options and I knew that would cause some headaches. “But it’s such a vitally important area of the pitch that I wanted those options. Yes, it makes life a bit harder but it’s good to have those options. “We are on a good run at the moment and we have got a good changing room, and a lot of players who are involved. At the moment, we have that good feel.” On £14million signing from PSV Eindhoven, Locadia, Hughton added: “You bring a player in because you watch him and you know the type of player he is, but we are still learning about him. You really learn in the game because training is different, they all train well.”
​Romelu Lukaku scored twice against ​Huddersfield Town as ​Manchester United eased into the FA Cup quarter-finals on Saturday, but it was another aspect of his game which drew widespread plaudits on social media. Lukaku scored in each half at the John Smith's Stadium as United survived a ​farcical VAR decision to set up a last eight tie with ​Brighton at Old Trafford. They have lost at the quarter-final stage in three of the last five seasons. Despite his goals, it was Lukaku's hold-up play...
Man Utd Fans Notice Major Improvement in Romelu Lukaku's Game During FA Cup Win
​Romelu Lukaku scored twice against ​Huddersfield Town as ​Manchester United eased into the FA Cup quarter-finals on Saturday, but it was another aspect of his game which drew widespread plaudits on social media. Lukaku scored in each half at the John Smith's Stadium as United survived a ​farcical VAR decision to set up a last eight tie with ​Brighton at Old Trafford. They have lost at the quarter-final stage in three of the last five seasons. Despite his goals, it was Lukaku's hold-up play...
​Romelu Lukaku scored twice against ​Huddersfield Town as ​Manchester United eased into the FA Cup quarter-finals on Saturday, but it was another aspect of his game which drew widespread plaudits on social media. Lukaku scored in each half at the John Smith's Stadium as United survived a ​farcical VAR decision to set up a last eight tie with ​Brighton at Old Trafford. They have lost at the quarter-final stage in three of the last five seasons. Despite his goals, it was Lukaku's hold-up play...
Man Utd Fans Notice Major Improvement in Romelu Lukaku's Game During FA Cup Win
​Romelu Lukaku scored twice against ​Huddersfield Town as ​Manchester United eased into the FA Cup quarter-finals on Saturday, but it was another aspect of his game which drew widespread plaudits on social media. Lukaku scored in each half at the John Smith's Stadium as United survived a ​farcical VAR decision to set up a last eight tie with ​Brighton at Old Trafford. They have lost at the quarter-final stage in three of the last five seasons. Despite his goals, it was Lukaku's hold-up play...
​Romelu Lukaku scored twice against ​Huddersfield Town as ​Manchester United eased into the FA Cup quarter-finals on Saturday, but it was another aspect of his game which drew widespread plaudits on social media. Lukaku scored in each half at the John Smith's Stadium as United survived a ​farcical VAR decision to set up a last eight tie with ​Brighton at Old Trafford. They have lost at the quarter-final stage in three of the last five seasons. Despite his goals, it was Lukaku's hold-up play...
Man Utd Fans Notice Major Improvement in Romelu Lukaku's Game During FA Cup Win
​Romelu Lukaku scored twice against ​Huddersfield Town as ​Manchester United eased into the FA Cup quarter-finals on Saturday, but it was another aspect of his game which drew widespread plaudits on social media. Lukaku scored in each half at the John Smith's Stadium as United survived a ​farcical VAR decision to set up a last eight tie with ​Brighton at Old Trafford. They have lost at the quarter-final stage in three of the last five seasons. Despite his goals, it was Lukaku's hold-up play...
Pep Guardiola's Man City will have a home tie in the last eight if they can overcome Wigan, but Spurs will be away if they make it through
Man Utd to face Brighton & Chelsea away to Leicester in FA Cup quarter-final draw
Pep Guardiola's Man City will have a home tie in the last eight if they can overcome Wigan, but Spurs will be away if they make it through
Video technology was supposed to help reduce controversial decisions in football but it served only to add to the confusion on a night when Manchester United’s progression to the FA Cup quarter-finals felt secondary to the debate stirred by the dodgy interpretation of a system that could take a while to catch on. Romelu Lukaku converted United’s only two shots on target to banish Huddersfield Town in a game in which Jose Mourinho’s side looked very ordinary for long periods but by the end the talk centred less on the victory, a last eight pairing with Brighton or Paul Pogba’s absence with a mysterious illness than the controversial Video Assistant Referee (VAR). On the cusp of half-time, Ashley Young wriggled free down the right, nipped past a non-existent challenge from Terence Kongolo and crossed for Juan Mata, who showed composure to dance round Jonas Lossl, the Huddersfield goalkeeper. The linesman’s flag stayed down, but as United’s players wheeled away in celebration, referee Kevin Friend called for VAR. And so for a couple of minutes the John Smith’s Stadium went quiet as players and supporters from both camps awaited a decision and Mourinho, Daivd Wagner, his Huddersfield counterpart, and fourth official Anthony Taylor muttered to each other in the technical area. In the meantime, television replays appeared to show Mata was marginally onside when Young crossed. But then word eventually came through from the Neil Swarbrick, the VAR in his studio in London 200 miles away, that Mata was offside and Friend disallowed the goal. And this is where the confusion really started. BT Sport offside lines Credit: BT SPORT According to Mike Riley, general manager of PGMOL, the referees’ governing body, VAR should only be used to overturn a “clear and obvious” error and, as Mourinho was keen to stress, there was nothing clear and obvious about this incident. Was Mata’s left knee cap offside? Yes, probably a fraction. But it did not help either that the lines Swarbrick was using to determine the decision were wonkier than those drawn by a toddler. Mata certainly looked hard done by on the contrasting images circulated by BT Sport. But the underlying point was even if Swarbrick was right, he had misinterpreted the protocol and, in the process, opened up a whole can of worms. “We have VAR in Portugal and the Portuguese league is the league I follow when I am at home and have nothing to do and I am familiar with amazing results of the VAR and problems and frustrations,” Mourinho said. “It is amazing when the truth comes but also problems like what happened today which goes against the words of the protocol. The words of the protocol are something like a ‘clear and obvious’ situation and for sure this is not a clear and obvious situation but we know it is experimental and we have to accept it but I am speaking after a 2-0 victory. “At half time I had to say 20 times to my analysts to shut up because I don’t want the players to know what happened. I want the players to think it is offside and to move on. But one day it will go in our favour.” Lukaku celebrates his second goal Credit: REUTERS Suffice to say, Mourinho might have been far less impressed had the decision proved costly to United but then even Wagner was unhappy with what he saw. “I said immediately to Jose that whatever will now be decided, whether it goes in our favour or not, I don’t like it,” the Huddersfield manager said. “It killed emotions in stands and for us managers in dug out. "This is why I don’t like this system, and when I hear even with this system it was very difficult and tight to decide if it was right, this makes no sense to me.” The one thing the confusion over VAR did do was deflect some attention away from a turgid first period from United. They were much improved after the interval, when a second goal for Lukaku calmed nerves and Huddersfield’s hopes of a comeback wilted after a spirited reaction to the Belgian’s third minute finish, but this was not a performance that will give Sevilla much cause for concern ahead of the first leg of their Champions League Round of 16 tie next Wednesday. Gutted I won’t be at Huddersfield but I need to get better. Come on United ���� @ManUtd— Paul Pogba (@paulpogba) February 17, 2018 Eric Bailly, a late substitute here after 3½ months out with an ankle injury, should feature against the Spaniards but whether Pogba returns is less clear. United had taken the unusual step of issuing a statement before kick-off to explain Pogba was missing through illness but Mourinho claimed afterwards he did not know what the exact problem was, although he insisted somewhat pointedly that he had planned to start the Frenchman on the left of a midfield three. “When I was told by the doctor this morning that he was not coming, I don’t want to know anything else about it,” Mourinho said. “I have to think who is going to replace him. Now is the time to think about Paul, to know what happened, why he didn’t feel good enough to play, can he play or be available to help us on Wednesday. Now we eat something in the bus and wait for information.” Managers David Wager and Jose Mourinho on the touchline Credit: Getty images Coming in a week when Mourinho felt compelled to refute claims Pogba was having second thoughts over his decision to join United amid apparent frustration at his role, it was inevitable his absence would set tongues wagging. But United’s first half struggles, with the midfield sat too deep and inviting Huddersfield to attack, underlined how much better this team are with Pogba in it. That said, Lukaku took both of his goals clinically at the start of both halves while Huddersfield blew their best two chances, Thomas Ince failing to turn in a low cross and Rajiv Van la Parra shanking a volley wide. Released by Juan Mata for the first, Lukaku cut inside Christopher Schindler with ease before firing low into the bottom corner and he not only finished but started the second. Finding Sanchez before carrying on his run, the Chilean’s return pass to Lukaku was sublime, splitting Huddersfield’s defence, and the the Belgian demonstrated a cool head to run across Danny Williams and slot home. 7:51PM Mourinho on VAR "I keep saying that it should be a referee's decision and not our decision. Why? Because the referees want to perform well and they're not happy to make mistakes, and if they have the VAR to help them make the decision, I think the referees would be happy with that. "But if the VAR change their decisions from good decisions to bad decisions (laughs) it's a bit frustrating. He's touching (his ear) and I think something is going to happen. I dunno what to say, it was a beautiful action. "After the Premier League I follow the Portuguese one and we have it there, amazing things that put the true in the result. BUt I also saw some controversial decisions that bring the VAR into a doubtful situation. I'm happy with the decision, it's like the technology on the goal line. I don't want to score if the ball doesn't cross the line, I'm happy with the true." 7:48PM Oh this VAR chat is doing my head in They got the decision right, it seemed a bit confusing, some wrong graphic did the rounds somewhere. "That could have cost Manchester United a place in the quarter final" says Jake Humphrey. But it was the right decision! If it had been allowed to stand by the referee and linesman then United were 2-0 up and Huddersfield were pretty much done. As it was, Huddersfield could come out in the second half and have a go at only 1-0 because - and this is the crucial bit - the decision was correct. It doesn't matter how many millimetres Mata's knee was offside by, or how stupid that bit of the rule is, he was offside as defined by the laws of the game. Imagine Huddersfield had been able to pull this one back to 2-1. You couldn't blame the VAR for United losing because the decision was correct. It's annoying because it's marginal and seemed a little confusing, and by Jove do people seem to hate being even slightly confuddled about anything. That's what the issue seems to be to me, people a little afraid of change, others not enjoying the feeling of not having control of something they have always thought they understood and that shift to the norm. It will mean little goals like this are ruled out going forward, huge decisions like Lampard's goal vs Germany will count and incorrect decisions don't impact games. I'd imagine smaller teams will benefit in the long term - plenty of big clubs do seem to get the luck of certain decisions at times. 7:37PM Juan Mata likes VAR but found it confusing "I did! I celebrated but you know apparently the VAR showed it was offside. What do you think? Yeh well I dunno, the important thing is it didn't matter but it's the first time I meet VAR. I'm up for it, I think it's needed especially when it's clear in a decision like red card, penalty, offside. I scored a goal, when I came to the dressing room they told me it wasn't very clear. If the VAR isn't clear what do we do? "I'm still not sure!" 7:26PM FULL TIME A clinical win in a solid Man Utd performance. There was nothing particularly inspiring about this one but Huddersfield played really well and were just undone by the quality and cunning of Lukaku's double. If they can play more like this in the Premier League they should be fine. 7:24PM 90 mins +2 Martial has started shielding the ball in the corner, trying to go past players with little tricks. United step up, Huddersfield win the ball back but can't do anything with it. Eric Bailly comes on for the final few seconds, replacing Lukaku. 7:21PM 90 mins Huddersfield keep working the right wing, finding space in behind Martial's half-hearted defensive efforts and Luke Shaw being pulled out of position. Another cross from wide is met in the middle by Mounie, who tries a bicycle kick but shoots harmlessly wide. 7:19PM 87 mins Billing hasn't given up yet though and does some more of his short passing one-two style around the edge of the area. Again, United soak up the pressure and clear their lines. It's so difficult to break Mourinho teams down. Matic looks for Martial with a lovely long pass down the channel. He sprints away, pulls the ball across the area but puts it between Lingard and Lukaku. Neither can get on the end. 7:17PM 85 mins Sabiri heads it from six yards with his first touch but gets underneath the cross and shoots over! That was a decent chance! 7:16PM 84 mins And that should be Lukaku's hat-trick. Lingard gets his aim wrong and passes behind the striker when the chance to tap into an empty net looks on. Huddersfield get forward and win another corner. Sabiri comes on for Van La Parra. 7:14PM 82 mins Lingard on for Mata. It feels like this game is done. Huddersfield don't seem to have enough left in them to turn it around and United are sat deep, taking their time and happy to slow everything down. 7:12PM 80 mins Lukaku has been superb tonight. As I type that he is rather too easily tackled by Schindler but other than that he's been excellent. Martial gets on the ball but can't go past his man, Mounie comes away down the right but doesn't have the support he needs and Malone passes straight to McTominay, who wins a free-kick. 7:08PM 77 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES Hmmm. Sanchez is taken off for Martial. He's not been at his best today but that is presumably to save him for future matches. He does tend to run around a lot. 7:07PM 75 mins Billing picks up the ball on the edge of the area, shapes to shoot on his left but it's a cunning ruse! He cuts onto his right and shoots from a narrow angle but Romero gets behind it and blocks well. United are on the break! Sanchez has men over and looks for Mata at the back post but places it too close to the goalkeeper. 7:05PM 73 mins Great play by United. A few passes forward and Young is put into space on the right, fires a pass low to Lukaku at the edge of the box and he has a chance for a hat-trick, takes too long to shoot, puts the ball on his right foot... and is blocked. 7:02PM 70 mins Malone and Smith come on for Kongolo and Hadergjonaj. Two full-backs swapped - is that to keep them fresh for other games? Or is Wagner trying to find a way back into this one with some energy in wide areas? Ince tries to work himself a little bit of space in the D but his shot is blocked. 7:01PM 68 mins Man Utd happy to sit at half way and invite pressure before launching counter-attacks. 6:58PM 65 mins Credit: REUTERS Matic, Carrick and McTominay have been excellent in the centre of the pitch today. Sanchez keeps moving inside the pitch to get involved, leaving United's left wing empty. 6:55PM 63 mins What a ball. Unbelievable execution from Sanchez, who ignores Shaw's overlapping run and punts what seems like a wild hit forwards but which turns into an inch perfect pass for Lukaku. Lukaku plays Mata in on the overlap, he goes around the outside of his man but his pass to the six yard box is dived on by the goalkeeper. 6:52PM 60 mins Young is put under pressure and accidentally puts a back pass straight out for a corner. Romero punches that one away, Sanchez sends Young away and United have men over again! Could this be a third? Huddersfield do really well to shut down the move before the ball is too close to the box. 6:49PM GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLL! Lukaku goal 2 Absolutely ruthless from Lukaku. United break at rapid speed, Lukaku leads the charge and runs onto a return pass from Sanchez - perfectly weighted and placed. Lukaku does all the hard work, speeds away from the last man, keeps his composure and finishes low past the goalkeeper. It's a smash and grab goal. 6:47PM 54 mins Huddersfield win another free-kick on the edge of the area as Sanchez clumsily brings down Williams. Again the wall does its job. And United are on the break! 6:44PM 53 mins Ince takes it on his left foot, hits the wall and there's a little scramble in the box. La Parra swings at thin air, Mata puts a high foot up. Smalling puts in a strong, perfectly timed challenge to kill the attack. Shaw is bumped into by La Parra... and Man Utd have a goal kick. 6:43PM 51 mins Huddersfield are at it in this half. They win a free-kick on the edge of the area, which suits a left footer. Tom Ince stands over the ball, Billing stands in front to block the view. Shaw and Sanchez are way forward of the 10 yard referee line and he has to come over to tell them to wise up. 6:40PM 48 mins Great ball towards Hadergjonaj from deep! The full-back has a race with Shaw to get to a through-pass towards the United penalty area but loses. Lukaku wins a free-kick wide right about 30 yards out. 6:38PM KICK OFF 2 We're back! 6:37PM Romelu Lukaku scared of lip readers Top secret information from Lukaku to his boss. I dislike this growing trend for footballers to hide their words from the cameras. 6:30PM Actual VAR lines Aaaaaand apparently the VAR did have access to straight lines and wasn't looking at the bendy lines one. And if this is the view they've seen, how is it offside? How is that offside? It's mental. 6:25PM Let's recap Mata scored a perfectly good goal, the VAR reviewed the decision and ruled it out because of some very bendy lines. Above is BT Sport's graphic, below is the VAR: Are the lines bent because it's catering for the camera angle? I'm stumped and really can't work it out. Just to add, I love VAR but when you get someone freehand drawing lines on a screen to work out if someone is offside or not... what the hell even is this? 6:21PM HALF TIME Well well well. It looks like we're going to need VAR for the VAR! To be fair, at least the officials have had the chance to look at the evidence and make an informed decision but that seems extraordinarily harsh on Mata. 6:21PM GOOOOOOO oh no it's offside too United have the ball in the back of the net again but this time the offside call is much easier. 6:20PM 45 mins +3 Umm. Who's been drawing these lines? 6:18PM NO GOOOOOAAAAALLLL Controversial scenes here! The VAR has reviewed the decision and think that Mata's knee is offside! That's amazing. It's still 1-0! 6:18PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLL!!!! Mata goal Ashley Young is superb on the right wing, skips past two challenges and puts a brilliant ball into the area for Mata. He must be offside! He must be! Mata goes around the goalkeeper and slots in. 6:14PM 42 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES Look who it is! Fergie and David Gill have come to watch their favourite team. At the moment they're watching them defend a corner... which Romero punches clear. Kongolo fouls Smalling and United take their time over the free-kick. 6:12PM 41 mins Billing's having a decent game in the Huddersfield midfield and always seems to be involved when they have the ball. Wagner's side have a lost a bit of their zip and the tempo has slowed in the last 10 minutes or so, United crushing the game and making things a little less fluid. Lukaku finds Sanchez with an absolutely brilliant switched pass but Sanchez's cross is headed away. 6:09PM 38 mins Mounie goes down after a battle in the air with Smalling but it's more a problem with his ankle than his head. 6:07PM 35 mins Billing tries an effort from long range, saved by Romero. Lukaku tries one on his right-footed from outside the area and is blocked. 6:03PM 33 mins Credit: PA Tom Ince has just seen the video for "Just" by Radiohead. 6:02PM 32 mins Shaw's clearance isn't very good and Huddersfield are able keep the pressure up and win a corner. Smalling and Lindelof both attack it and head the ball behind between them - that's poor communication from the centre-backs and they're pretty fortunate not to have clashed heads. 6:00PM 30 mins Danny Williams has players right and left to pass to but the pitch opens up and he decides to shoot from all of 30 yards. Romero saves easily. 5:58PM 27 mins United win a corner. Sanchez hooks it into the box, Matic has space but can't control properly... the chance goes and then Lukaku is caught offside as a long ball is aimed onto Smalling's head to knock on. Mata angrily waves at his teammates to suggest they're not doing what they're supposed to be. Sanchez looks a little lost in this United team for me. He doesn't seem sure when or who to press, or even where he's really playing. 5:54PM 24 mins Lukaku defends at left-back... I'm not sure why it's really happened. Moments later Huddersfield attack down the right again - they're focusing all their attacks down that channel - and a teasing ball around the centre-backs almost provides a chance for Tom Ince to score. He slides in but can't quite get enough on the shot. Goal kick. Luke Shaw is being done in down the left wing, he needs Alexis Sanchez to do some tracking back. 5:52PM 21 mins Lukaku finds Sanchez with a clever through-pass but the Chilean can't do much with it and is offside anyway. United have calmed the Huddersfield storm. McTominay changes La Parra but is a little too eager to tackle him and gives away a free-kick. 5:49PM 19 mins Credit: REUTERS Ashley Young gets forward and from just in front of the box looks to find Lukaku with an early, bending pass. It's deflected behind for a corner, Mata swings it in and Smalling has the chance to get a shot in from 12 yards! He swings at it but is blocked, Huddersfield head away. Sanchez gives a poor pass straight to a Huddersfield player. 5:47PM 16 mins Mourinho is up on the touchline yelling instructions at his players, urging them to push up the pitch quickly to stop the Huddersfield onslaught of attacks. 5:46PM 15 mins I love that Graham Poll sounds a lot like Tim Key, so that whenever he turns up to do some voiceover analysis on referee decisions, it's like Sidekick Simon from Alan Partridge is weighing in. Huddersfield really taking the game to Man Utd here and have them trapped on the back foot. Romero has to save a long range effort. This suits Mourinho's counter-attack style but at the moment, they're in danger of being overrun by blue and white shirts. 5:43PM 12 mins Sanchez is taking up really central positions for United, playing alongside Lukaku while in possession. The away fans are singing "ooh aaah Eric Cantona" - presumably he's there somewhere. 5:41PM 10 mins Huddersfield have started really well here (apart from conceding) and are going at Man Utd. They're pressing high, playing quick forward passes and have won another corner. That's slightly cheeky (the ball isn't in the corner circle) and if Huddersfield score from it, will have the goal disallowed. VAR is a strange creature. That corner is dealt with after a bit of a penalty box scramble. This game is alive! 5:39PM 7 mins PENALTY! That should be a penalty shouldn't it? Graham Poll says Chris Smalling's hand pinging the ball away at face height from a corner doesn't qualify as a penalty. Huddersfield keep the pressure up. IIINCE! That's so close from Ince! He might be offside but is able to turn inside the area and pulls the ball across the box, just unable to get it on target or provide a tap in to a teammate. 5:36PM GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLL! Lukaku goal This is absolutely brilliant striker play by Lukaku. Mata finds him with a superb through ball, he turns his man, sprints on the counter-attack all the way to the box and then bounces the defender off him easily, cuts onto his right foot and finishes coolly past Lossl. That's the Lukaku we like to see! 5:33PM 2 mins United pressing high from the start but Huddersfield do well to bypass it and Quaner takes on Shaw, never looks up and then drags a shot way wide of goal from the corner of the box. That was ever so slightly ambitious. 5:32PM KICK OFF Here we go! 5:24PM Mourinho's happy selfie face Credit: GETTY IMAGES 5:19PM David Wagner says "It was me. We said after the defeat at Old Trafford, OK come on boys. Now we have to show we are capable, the players have done it, played very good football, been solid defensively and strong offensively. We are happy and glad to host United in the FA Cup. "I think we've seen you have to make everything right and be on your best to be a competitor, we are excited today. This is a present for our supporters who follow us all season and we will try our best to come through it." 5:06PM Jose Mourinho pre-match comments "I think it's a beautiful moment for the players (Gomes and Hamilton), even if they don't play. Gomes did play for us a couple of times in the Premier League and Hamilton is the first time on the bench, I think it's beautiful for them. On the bench I have four senior players ready to play without question mark, and the fact they play yesterday for the under-23s doesn't mean I'm not going to play them. "In here we have a couple of mistakes and we pay for that. At our house we have a very organised wall, very compact, but we play well and when we scored we kept control. Today they're in their natural habitat and they'll want to try to be a giant killer and to arrive at Wembley, which is a dream for everyone." 4:55PM Huddersfield team TEAM NEWS with @ViessmannUK: Head Coach David Wagner has made 4⃣ changes to his starting line-up for #htafc's @EmiratesFACup match vs @ManUtd. ➡️ @KongoloTerence, @BillingPhilip, Danny Williams & @CollinQuaner ⬅️ @ScottyMalone28, Jonathan Hogg, @AaronMooy & @pritch_93 (AT) pic.twitter.com/R1F1RLRRFs— Huddersfield Town (@htafcdotcom) February 17, 2018 4:49PM Pogba's been on the internet Gutted I won’t be at Huddersfield but I need to get better. Come on United ���� @ManUtd— Paul Pogba (@paulpogba) February 17, 2018 4:45PM Jose Mourinho on Paul Pogba's absence When did you find out? "This morning, I was told by the doctor. No honestly I don't care, I focus on the game, just the game. I know Paul cannot play, I will think about Paul after the match." 4:36PM Jose Mourinho film poster Credit: GETTY IMAGES Jose Mourinho's been busy posing for his new film. Imagine explosions in the background and it's pretty nailed on. Could also be an album cover. 4:25PM Pre-game photos Credit: GETTY IMAGES Credit: REUTERS 4:22PM Man Utd starting lineup Six changes for Man Utd. No Pogba, De Gea, Jones, Lingard, Valencia and Martial all rested/dropped. Six changes for #MUFC - here's today's line-up! #FACuppic.twitter.com/JN9IyctMO3— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 17, 2018 Romero, Young, Lindelof, Smalling, Shaw, Matic, Carrick, McTominay, Mata, Lukaku, Sanchez. �� A first appearance on the #MUFC bench for Ethan Hamilton... pic.twitter.com/Qj8XcDOjpN— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 17, 2018 There's also a spot on the bench for highly rated (and really young) attacking midfielder Angel Gomes. 3:43PM Hello! Good (late) afternoon to you, my football friends. Welcome to our liveblog for Huddersfield vs Manchester United in the FA Cup, a game Paul Pogba will miss through illness. Hmmm. It'll be very interesting to see what team Jose Mourinho names for this. The FA Cup is probably his best chance of a trophy for the rest of the season, what with the Champions League being rather hard to win and all that, but Man Utd come into this on the back of some indifferent form. Credit: GETTY IMAGES Newcastle were able to secure a 1-0 win defending 'with their lives' in United's last game, and next is Sevilla, which will surely mean Mourinho rests a few key players. Lindelof, Shaw, Carrick and Rojo could all find themselves in the starting XI and Eric Bailly is very close to a first team return. Due to United's form, David Wagner might be inclined to play a full strength Huddersfield side and take advantage of low confidence, though Aaron Mooy and Laurent Depoitre are likely to be rested, with both doubts for this game. Team news should be in at 4:30pm.
Huddersfield 0 Man Utd 2: VAR controversy as Romelu Lukaku sends United into quarter final
Video technology was supposed to help reduce controversial decisions in football but it served only to add to the confusion on a night when Manchester United’s progression to the FA Cup quarter-finals felt secondary to the debate stirred by the dodgy interpretation of a system that could take a while to catch on. Romelu Lukaku converted United’s only two shots on target to banish Huddersfield Town in a game in which Jose Mourinho’s side looked very ordinary for long periods but by the end the talk centred less on the victory, a last eight pairing with Brighton or Paul Pogba’s absence with a mysterious illness than the controversial Video Assistant Referee (VAR). On the cusp of half-time, Ashley Young wriggled free down the right, nipped past a non-existent challenge from Terence Kongolo and crossed for Juan Mata, who showed composure to dance round Jonas Lossl, the Huddersfield goalkeeper. The linesman’s flag stayed down, but as United’s players wheeled away in celebration, referee Kevin Friend called for VAR. And so for a couple of minutes the John Smith’s Stadium went quiet as players and supporters from both camps awaited a decision and Mourinho, Daivd Wagner, his Huddersfield counterpart, and fourth official Anthony Taylor muttered to each other in the technical area. In the meantime, television replays appeared to show Mata was marginally onside when Young crossed. But then word eventually came through from the Neil Swarbrick, the VAR in his studio in London 200 miles away, that Mata was offside and Friend disallowed the goal. And this is where the confusion really started. BT Sport offside lines Credit: BT SPORT According to Mike Riley, general manager of PGMOL, the referees’ governing body, VAR should only be used to overturn a “clear and obvious” error and, as Mourinho was keen to stress, there was nothing clear and obvious about this incident. Was Mata’s left knee cap offside? Yes, probably a fraction. But it did not help either that the lines Swarbrick was using to determine the decision were wonkier than those drawn by a toddler. Mata certainly looked hard done by on the contrasting images circulated by BT Sport. But the underlying point was even if Swarbrick was right, he had misinterpreted the protocol and, in the process, opened up a whole can of worms. “We have VAR in Portugal and the Portuguese league is the league I follow when I am at home and have nothing to do and I am familiar with amazing results of the VAR and problems and frustrations,” Mourinho said. “It is amazing when the truth comes but also problems like what happened today which goes against the words of the protocol. The words of the protocol are something like a ‘clear and obvious’ situation and for sure this is not a clear and obvious situation but we know it is experimental and we have to accept it but I am speaking after a 2-0 victory. “At half time I had to say 20 times to my analysts to shut up because I don’t want the players to know what happened. I want the players to think it is offside and to move on. But one day it will go in our favour.” Lukaku celebrates his second goal Credit: REUTERS Suffice to say, Mourinho might have been far less impressed had the decision proved costly to United but then even Wagner was unhappy with what he saw. “I said immediately to Jose that whatever will now be decided, whether it goes in our favour or not, I don’t like it,” the Huddersfield manager said. “It killed emotions in stands and for us managers in dug out. "This is why I don’t like this system, and when I hear even with this system it was very difficult and tight to decide if it was right, this makes no sense to me.” The one thing the confusion over VAR did do was deflect some attention away from a turgid first period from United. They were much improved after the interval, when a second goal for Lukaku calmed nerves and Huddersfield’s hopes of a comeback wilted after a spirited reaction to the Belgian’s third minute finish, but this was not a performance that will give Sevilla much cause for concern ahead of the first leg of their Champions League Round of 16 tie next Wednesday. Gutted I won’t be at Huddersfield but I need to get better. Come on United ���� @ManUtd— Paul Pogba (@paulpogba) February 17, 2018 Eric Bailly, a late substitute here after 3½ months out with an ankle injury, should feature against the Spaniards but whether Pogba returns is less clear. United had taken the unusual step of issuing a statement before kick-off to explain Pogba was missing through illness but Mourinho claimed afterwards he did not know what the exact problem was, although he insisted somewhat pointedly that he had planned to start the Frenchman on the left of a midfield three. “When I was told by the doctor this morning that he was not coming, I don’t want to know anything else about it,” Mourinho said. “I have to think who is going to replace him. Now is the time to think about Paul, to know what happened, why he didn’t feel good enough to play, can he play or be available to help us on Wednesday. Now we eat something in the bus and wait for information.” Managers David Wager and Jose Mourinho on the touchline Credit: Getty images Coming in a week when Mourinho felt compelled to refute claims Pogba was having second thoughts over his decision to join United amid apparent frustration at his role, it was inevitable his absence would set tongues wagging. But United’s first half struggles, with the midfield sat too deep and inviting Huddersfield to attack, underlined how much better this team are with Pogba in it. That said, Lukaku took both of his goals clinically at the start of both halves while Huddersfield blew their best two chances, Thomas Ince failing to turn in a low cross and Rajiv Van la Parra shanking a volley wide. Released by Juan Mata for the first, Lukaku cut inside Christopher Schindler with ease before firing low into the bottom corner and he not only finished but started the second. Finding Sanchez before carrying on his run, the Chilean’s return pass to Lukaku was sublime, splitting Huddersfield’s defence, and the the Belgian demonstrated a cool head to run across Danny Williams and slot home. 7:51PM Mourinho on VAR "I keep saying that it should be a referee's decision and not our decision. Why? Because the referees want to perform well and they're not happy to make mistakes, and if they have the VAR to help them make the decision, I think the referees would be happy with that. "But if the VAR change their decisions from good decisions to bad decisions (laughs) it's a bit frustrating. He's touching (his ear) and I think something is going to happen. I dunno what to say, it was a beautiful action. "After the Premier League I follow the Portuguese one and we have it there, amazing things that put the true in the result. BUt I also saw some controversial decisions that bring the VAR into a doubtful situation. I'm happy with the decision, it's like the technology on the goal line. I don't want to score if the ball doesn't cross the line, I'm happy with the true." 7:48PM Oh this VAR chat is doing my head in They got the decision right, it seemed a bit confusing, some wrong graphic did the rounds somewhere. "That could have cost Manchester United a place in the quarter final" says Jake Humphrey. But it was the right decision! If it had been allowed to stand by the referee and linesman then United were 2-0 up and Huddersfield were pretty much done. As it was, Huddersfield could come out in the second half and have a go at only 1-0 because - and this is the crucial bit - the decision was correct. It doesn't matter how many millimetres Mata's knee was offside by, or how stupid that bit of the rule is, he was offside as defined by the laws of the game. Imagine Huddersfield had been able to pull this one back to 2-1. You couldn't blame the VAR for United losing because the decision was correct. It's annoying because it's marginal and seemed a little confusing, and by Jove do people seem to hate being even slightly confuddled about anything. That's what the issue seems to be to me, people a little afraid of change, others not enjoying the feeling of not having control of something they have always thought they understood and that shift to the norm. It will mean little goals like this are ruled out going forward, huge decisions like Lampard's goal vs Germany will count and incorrect decisions don't impact games. I'd imagine smaller teams will benefit in the long term - plenty of big clubs do seem to get the luck of certain decisions at times. 7:37PM Juan Mata likes VAR but found it confusing "I did! I celebrated but you know apparently the VAR showed it was offside. What do you think? Yeh well I dunno, the important thing is it didn't matter but it's the first time I meet VAR. I'm up for it, I think it's needed especially when it's clear in a decision like red card, penalty, offside. I scored a goal, when I came to the dressing room they told me it wasn't very clear. If the VAR isn't clear what do we do? "I'm still not sure!" 7:26PM FULL TIME A clinical win in a solid Man Utd performance. There was nothing particularly inspiring about this one but Huddersfield played really well and were just undone by the quality and cunning of Lukaku's double. If they can play more like this in the Premier League they should be fine. 7:24PM 90 mins +2 Martial has started shielding the ball in the corner, trying to go past players with little tricks. United step up, Huddersfield win the ball back but can't do anything with it. Eric Bailly comes on for the final few seconds, replacing Lukaku. 7:21PM 90 mins Huddersfield keep working the right wing, finding space in behind Martial's half-hearted defensive efforts and Luke Shaw being pulled out of position. Another cross from wide is met in the middle by Mounie, who tries a bicycle kick but shoots harmlessly wide. 7:19PM 87 mins Billing hasn't given up yet though and does some more of his short passing one-two style around the edge of the area. Again, United soak up the pressure and clear their lines. It's so difficult to break Mourinho teams down. Matic looks for Martial with a lovely long pass down the channel. He sprints away, pulls the ball across the area but puts it between Lingard and Lukaku. Neither can get on the end. 7:17PM 85 mins Sabiri heads it from six yards with his first touch but gets underneath the cross and shoots over! That was a decent chance! 7:16PM 84 mins And that should be Lukaku's hat-trick. Lingard gets his aim wrong and passes behind the striker when the chance to tap into an empty net looks on. Huddersfield get forward and win another corner. Sabiri comes on for Van La Parra. 7:14PM 82 mins Lingard on for Mata. It feels like this game is done. Huddersfield don't seem to have enough left in them to turn it around and United are sat deep, taking their time and happy to slow everything down. 7:12PM 80 mins Lukaku has been superb tonight. As I type that he is rather too easily tackled by Schindler but other than that he's been excellent. Martial gets on the ball but can't go past his man, Mounie comes away down the right but doesn't have the support he needs and Malone passes straight to McTominay, who wins a free-kick. 7:08PM 77 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES Hmmm. Sanchez is taken off for Martial. He's not been at his best today but that is presumably to save him for future matches. He does tend to run around a lot. 7:07PM 75 mins Billing picks up the ball on the edge of the area, shapes to shoot on his left but it's a cunning ruse! He cuts onto his right and shoots from a narrow angle but Romero gets behind it and blocks well. United are on the break! Sanchez has men over and looks for Mata at the back post but places it too close to the goalkeeper. 7:05PM 73 mins Great play by United. A few passes forward and Young is put into space on the right, fires a pass low to Lukaku at the edge of the box and he has a chance for a hat-trick, takes too long to shoot, puts the ball on his right foot... and is blocked. 7:02PM 70 mins Malone and Smith come on for Kongolo and Hadergjonaj. Two full-backs swapped - is that to keep them fresh for other games? Or is Wagner trying to find a way back into this one with some energy in wide areas? Ince tries to work himself a little bit of space in the D but his shot is blocked. 7:01PM 68 mins Man Utd happy to sit at half way and invite pressure before launching counter-attacks. 6:58PM 65 mins Credit: REUTERS Matic, Carrick and McTominay have been excellent in the centre of the pitch today. Sanchez keeps moving inside the pitch to get involved, leaving United's left wing empty. 6:55PM 63 mins What a ball. Unbelievable execution from Sanchez, who ignores Shaw's overlapping run and punts what seems like a wild hit forwards but which turns into an inch perfect pass for Lukaku. Lukaku plays Mata in on the overlap, he goes around the outside of his man but his pass to the six yard box is dived on by the goalkeeper. 6:52PM 60 mins Young is put under pressure and accidentally puts a back pass straight out for a corner. Romero punches that one away, Sanchez sends Young away and United have men over again! Could this be a third? Huddersfield do really well to shut down the move before the ball is too close to the box. 6:49PM GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLL! Lukaku goal 2 Absolutely ruthless from Lukaku. United break at rapid speed, Lukaku leads the charge and runs onto a return pass from Sanchez - perfectly weighted and placed. Lukaku does all the hard work, speeds away from the last man, keeps his composure and finishes low past the goalkeeper. It's a smash and grab goal. 6:47PM 54 mins Huddersfield win another free-kick on the edge of the area as Sanchez clumsily brings down Williams. Again the wall does its job. And United are on the break! 6:44PM 53 mins Ince takes it on his left foot, hits the wall and there's a little scramble in the box. La Parra swings at thin air, Mata puts a high foot up. Smalling puts in a strong, perfectly timed challenge to kill the attack. Shaw is bumped into by La Parra... and Man Utd have a goal kick. 6:43PM 51 mins Huddersfield are at it in this half. They win a free-kick on the edge of the area, which suits a left footer. Tom Ince stands over the ball, Billing stands in front to block the view. Shaw and Sanchez are way forward of the 10 yard referee line and he has to come over to tell them to wise up. 6:40PM 48 mins Great ball towards Hadergjonaj from deep! The full-back has a race with Shaw to get to a through-pass towards the United penalty area but loses. Lukaku wins a free-kick wide right about 30 yards out. 6:38PM KICK OFF 2 We're back! 6:37PM Romelu Lukaku scared of lip readers Top secret information from Lukaku to his boss. I dislike this growing trend for footballers to hide their words from the cameras. 6:30PM Actual VAR lines Aaaaaand apparently the VAR did have access to straight lines and wasn't looking at the bendy lines one. And if this is the view they've seen, how is it offside? How is that offside? It's mental. 6:25PM Let's recap Mata scored a perfectly good goal, the VAR reviewed the decision and ruled it out because of some very bendy lines. Above is BT Sport's graphic, below is the VAR: Are the lines bent because it's catering for the camera angle? I'm stumped and really can't work it out. Just to add, I love VAR but when you get someone freehand drawing lines on a screen to work out if someone is offside or not... what the hell even is this? 6:21PM HALF TIME Well well well. It looks like we're going to need VAR for the VAR! To be fair, at least the officials have had the chance to look at the evidence and make an informed decision but that seems extraordinarily harsh on Mata. 6:21PM GOOOOOOO oh no it's offside too United have the ball in the back of the net again but this time the offside call is much easier. 6:20PM 45 mins +3 Umm. Who's been drawing these lines? 6:18PM NO GOOOOOAAAAALLLL Controversial scenes here! The VAR has reviewed the decision and think that Mata's knee is offside! That's amazing. It's still 1-0! 6:18PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLL!!!! Mata goal Ashley Young is superb on the right wing, skips past two challenges and puts a brilliant ball into the area for Mata. He must be offside! He must be! Mata goes around the goalkeeper and slots in. 6:14PM 42 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES Look who it is! Fergie and David Gill have come to watch their favourite team. At the moment they're watching them defend a corner... which Romero punches clear. Kongolo fouls Smalling and United take their time over the free-kick. 6:12PM 41 mins Billing's having a decent game in the Huddersfield midfield and always seems to be involved when they have the ball. Wagner's side have a lost a bit of their zip and the tempo has slowed in the last 10 minutes or so, United crushing the game and making things a little less fluid. Lukaku finds Sanchez with an absolutely brilliant switched pass but Sanchez's cross is headed away. 6:09PM 38 mins Mounie goes down after a battle in the air with Smalling but it's more a problem with his ankle than his head. 6:07PM 35 mins Billing tries an effort from long range, saved by Romero. Lukaku tries one on his right-footed from outside the area and is blocked. 6:03PM 33 mins Credit: PA Tom Ince has just seen the video for "Just" by Radiohead. 6:02PM 32 mins Shaw's clearance isn't very good and Huddersfield are able keep the pressure up and win a corner. Smalling and Lindelof both attack it and head the ball behind between them - that's poor communication from the centre-backs and they're pretty fortunate not to have clashed heads. 6:00PM 30 mins Danny Williams has players right and left to pass to but the pitch opens up and he decides to shoot from all of 30 yards. Romero saves easily. 5:58PM 27 mins United win a corner. Sanchez hooks it into the box, Matic has space but can't control properly... the chance goes and then Lukaku is caught offside as a long ball is aimed onto Smalling's head to knock on. Mata angrily waves at his teammates to suggest they're not doing what they're supposed to be. Sanchez looks a little lost in this United team for me. He doesn't seem sure when or who to press, or even where he's really playing. 5:54PM 24 mins Lukaku defends at left-back... I'm not sure why it's really happened. Moments later Huddersfield attack down the right again - they're focusing all their attacks down that channel - and a teasing ball around the centre-backs almost provides a chance for Tom Ince to score. He slides in but can't quite get enough on the shot. Goal kick. Luke Shaw is being done in down the left wing, he needs Alexis Sanchez to do some tracking back. 5:52PM 21 mins Lukaku finds Sanchez with a clever through-pass but the Chilean can't do much with it and is offside anyway. United have calmed the Huddersfield storm. McTominay changes La Parra but is a little too eager to tackle him and gives away a free-kick. 5:49PM 19 mins Credit: REUTERS Ashley Young gets forward and from just in front of the box looks to find Lukaku with an early, bending pass. It's deflected behind for a corner, Mata swings it in and Smalling has the chance to get a shot in from 12 yards! He swings at it but is blocked, Huddersfield head away. Sanchez gives a poor pass straight to a Huddersfield player. 5:47PM 16 mins Mourinho is up on the touchline yelling instructions at his players, urging them to push up the pitch quickly to stop the Huddersfield onslaught of attacks. 5:46PM 15 mins I love that Graham Poll sounds a lot like Tim Key, so that whenever he turns up to do some voiceover analysis on referee decisions, it's like Sidekick Simon from Alan Partridge is weighing in. Huddersfield really taking the game to Man Utd here and have them trapped on the back foot. Romero has to save a long range effort. This suits Mourinho's counter-attack style but at the moment, they're in danger of being overrun by blue and white shirts. 5:43PM 12 mins Sanchez is taking up really central positions for United, playing alongside Lukaku while in possession. The away fans are singing "ooh aaah Eric Cantona" - presumably he's there somewhere. 5:41PM 10 mins Huddersfield have started really well here (apart from conceding) and are going at Man Utd. They're pressing high, playing quick forward passes and have won another corner. That's slightly cheeky (the ball isn't in the corner circle) and if Huddersfield score from it, will have the goal disallowed. VAR is a strange creature. That corner is dealt with after a bit of a penalty box scramble. This game is alive! 5:39PM 7 mins PENALTY! That should be a penalty shouldn't it? Graham Poll says Chris Smalling's hand pinging the ball away at face height from a corner doesn't qualify as a penalty. Huddersfield keep the pressure up. IIINCE! That's so close from Ince! He might be offside but is able to turn inside the area and pulls the ball across the box, just unable to get it on target or provide a tap in to a teammate. 5:36PM GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLL! Lukaku goal This is absolutely brilliant striker play by Lukaku. Mata finds him with a superb through ball, he turns his man, sprints on the counter-attack all the way to the box and then bounces the defender off him easily, cuts onto his right foot and finishes coolly past Lossl. That's the Lukaku we like to see! 5:33PM 2 mins United pressing high from the start but Huddersfield do well to bypass it and Quaner takes on Shaw, never looks up and then drags a shot way wide of goal from the corner of the box. That was ever so slightly ambitious. 5:32PM KICK OFF Here we go! 5:24PM Mourinho's happy selfie face Credit: GETTY IMAGES 5:19PM David Wagner says "It was me. We said after the defeat at Old Trafford, OK come on boys. Now we have to show we are capable, the players have done it, played very good football, been solid defensively and strong offensively. We are happy and glad to host United in the FA Cup. "I think we've seen you have to make everything right and be on your best to be a competitor, we are excited today. This is a present for our supporters who follow us all season and we will try our best to come through it." 5:06PM Jose Mourinho pre-match comments "I think it's a beautiful moment for the players (Gomes and Hamilton), even if they don't play. Gomes did play for us a couple of times in the Premier League and Hamilton is the first time on the bench, I think it's beautiful for them. On the bench I have four senior players ready to play without question mark, and the fact they play yesterday for the under-23s doesn't mean I'm not going to play them. "In here we have a couple of mistakes and we pay for that. At our house we have a very organised wall, very compact, but we play well and when we scored we kept control. Today they're in their natural habitat and they'll want to try to be a giant killer and to arrive at Wembley, which is a dream for everyone." 4:55PM Huddersfield team TEAM NEWS with @ViessmannUK: Head Coach David Wagner has made 4⃣ changes to his starting line-up for #htafc's @EmiratesFACup match vs @ManUtd. ➡️ @KongoloTerence, @BillingPhilip, Danny Williams & @CollinQuaner ⬅️ @ScottyMalone28, Jonathan Hogg, @AaronMooy & @pritch_93 (AT) pic.twitter.com/R1F1RLRRFs— Huddersfield Town (@htafcdotcom) February 17, 2018 4:49PM Pogba's been on the internet Gutted I won’t be at Huddersfield but I need to get better. Come on United ���� @ManUtd— Paul Pogba (@paulpogba) February 17, 2018 4:45PM Jose Mourinho on Paul Pogba's absence When did you find out? "This morning, I was told by the doctor. No honestly I don't care, I focus on the game, just the game. I know Paul cannot play, I will think about Paul after the match." 4:36PM Jose Mourinho film poster Credit: GETTY IMAGES Jose Mourinho's been busy posing for his new film. Imagine explosions in the background and it's pretty nailed on. Could also be an album cover. 4:25PM Pre-game photos Credit: GETTY IMAGES Credit: REUTERS 4:22PM Man Utd starting lineup Six changes for Man Utd. No Pogba, De Gea, Jones, Lingard, Valencia and Martial all rested/dropped. Six changes for #MUFC - here's today's line-up! #FACuppic.twitter.com/JN9IyctMO3— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 17, 2018 Romero, Young, Lindelof, Smalling, Shaw, Matic, Carrick, McTominay, Mata, Lukaku, Sanchez. �� A first appearance on the #MUFC bench for Ethan Hamilton... pic.twitter.com/Qj8XcDOjpN— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 17, 2018 There's also a spot on the bench for highly rated (and really young) attacking midfielder Angel Gomes. 3:43PM Hello! Good (late) afternoon to you, my football friends. Welcome to our liveblog for Huddersfield vs Manchester United in the FA Cup, a game Paul Pogba will miss through illness. Hmmm. It'll be very interesting to see what team Jose Mourinho names for this. The FA Cup is probably his best chance of a trophy for the rest of the season, what with the Champions League being rather hard to win and all that, but Man Utd come into this on the back of some indifferent form. Credit: GETTY IMAGES Newcastle were able to secure a 1-0 win defending 'with their lives' in United's last game, and next is Sevilla, which will surely mean Mourinho rests a few key players. Lindelof, Shaw, Carrick and Rojo could all find themselves in the starting XI and Eric Bailly is very close to a first team return. Due to United's form, David Wagner might be inclined to play a full strength Huddersfield side and take advantage of low confidence, though Aaron Mooy and Laurent Depoitre are likely to be rested, with both doubts for this game. Team news should be in at 4:30pm.
Video technology was supposed to help reduce controversial decisions in football but it served only to add to the confusion on a night when Manchester United’s progression to the FA Cup quarter-finals felt secondary to the debate stirred by the dodgy interpretation of a system that could take a while to catch on. Romelu Lukaku converted United’s only two shots on target to banish Huddersfield Town in a game in which Jose Mourinho’s side looked very ordinary for long periods but by the end the talk centred less on the victory, a last eight pairing with Brighton or Paul Pogba’s absence with a mysterious illness than the controversial Video Assistant Referee (VAR). On the cusp of half-time, Ashley Young wriggled free down the right, nipped past a non-existent challenge from Terence Kongolo and crossed for Juan Mata, who showed composure to dance round Jonas Lossl, the Huddersfield goalkeeper. The linesman’s flag stayed down, but as United’s players wheeled away in celebration, referee Kevin Friend called for VAR. And so for a couple of minutes the John Smith’s Stadium went quiet as players and supporters from both camps awaited a decision and Mourinho, Daivd Wagner, his Huddersfield counterpart, and fourth official Anthony Taylor muttered to each other in the technical area. In the meantime, television replays appeared to show Mata was marginally onside when Young crossed. But then word eventually came through from the Neil Swarbrick, the VAR in his studio in London 200 miles away, that Mata was offside and Friend disallowed the goal. And this is where the confusion really started. BT Sport offside lines Credit: BT SPORT According to Mike Riley, general manager of PGMOL, the referees’ governing body, VAR should only be used to overturn a “clear and obvious” error and, as Mourinho was keen to stress, there was nothing clear and obvious about this incident. Was Mata’s left knee cap offside? Yes, probably a fraction. But it did not help either that the lines Swarbrick was using to determine the decision were wonkier than those drawn by a toddler. Mata certainly looked hard done by on the contrasting images circulated by BT Sport. But the underlying point was even if Swarbrick was right, he had misinterpreted the protocol and, in the process, opened up a whole can of worms. “We have VAR in Portugal and the Portuguese league is the league I follow when I am at home and have nothing to do and I am familiar with amazing results of the VAR and problems and frustrations,” Mourinho said. “It is amazing when the truth comes but also problems like what happened today which goes against the words of the protocol. The words of the protocol are something like a ‘clear and obvious’ situation and for sure this is not a clear and obvious situation but we know it is experimental and we have to accept it but I am speaking after a 2-0 victory. “At half time I had to say 20 times to my analysts to shut up because I don’t want the players to know what happened. I want the players to think it is offside and to move on. But one day it will go in our favour.” Lukaku celebrates his second goal Credit: REUTERS Suffice to say, Mourinho might have been far less impressed had the decision proved costly to United but then even Wagner was unhappy with what he saw. “I said immediately to Jose that whatever will now be decided, whether it goes in our favour or not, I don’t like it,” the Huddersfield manager said. “It killed emotions in stands and for us managers in dug out. "This is why I don’t like this system, and when I hear even with this system it was very difficult and tight to decide if it was right, this makes no sense to me.” The one thing the confusion over VAR did do was deflect some attention away from a turgid first period from United. They were much improved after the interval, when a second goal for Lukaku calmed nerves and Huddersfield’s hopes of a comeback wilted after a spirited reaction to the Belgian’s third minute finish, but this was not a performance that will give Sevilla much cause for concern ahead of the first leg of their Champions League Round of 16 tie next Wednesday. Gutted I won’t be at Huddersfield but I need to get better. Come on United ���� @ManUtd— Paul Pogba (@paulpogba) February 17, 2018 Eric Bailly, a late substitute here after 3½ months out with an ankle injury, should feature against the Spaniards but whether Pogba returns is less clear. United had taken the unusual step of issuing a statement before kick-off to explain Pogba was missing through illness but Mourinho claimed afterwards he did not know what the exact problem was, although he insisted somewhat pointedly that he had planned to start the Frenchman on the left of a midfield three. “When I was told by the doctor this morning that he was not coming, I don’t want to know anything else about it,” Mourinho said. “I have to think who is going to replace him. Now is the time to think about Paul, to know what happened, why he didn’t feel good enough to play, can he play or be available to help us on Wednesday. Now we eat something in the bus and wait for information.” Managers David Wager and Jose Mourinho on the touchline Credit: Getty images Coming in a week when Mourinho felt compelled to refute claims Pogba was having second thoughts over his decision to join United amid apparent frustration at his role, it was inevitable his absence would set tongues wagging. But United’s first half struggles, with the midfield sat too deep and inviting Huddersfield to attack, underlined how much better this team are with Pogba in it. That said, Lukaku took both of his goals clinically at the start of both halves while Huddersfield blew their best two chances, Thomas Ince failing to turn in a low cross and Rajiv Van la Parra shanking a volley wide. Released by Juan Mata for the first, Lukaku cut inside Christopher Schindler with ease before firing low into the bottom corner and he not only finished but started the second. Finding Sanchez before carrying on his run, the Chilean’s return pass to Lukaku was sublime, splitting Huddersfield’s defence, and the the Belgian demonstrated a cool head to run across Danny Williams and slot home. 7:51PM Mourinho on VAR "I keep saying that it should be a referee's decision and not our decision. Why? Because the referees want to perform well and they're not happy to make mistakes, and if they have the VAR to help them make the decision, I think the referees would be happy with that. "But if the VAR change their decisions from good decisions to bad decisions (laughs) it's a bit frustrating. He's touching (his ear) and I think something is going to happen. I dunno what to say, it was a beautiful action. "After the Premier League I follow the Portuguese one and we have it there, amazing things that put the true in the result. BUt I also saw some controversial decisions that bring the VAR into a doubtful situation. I'm happy with the decision, it's like the technology on the goal line. I don't want to score if the ball doesn't cross the line, I'm happy with the true." 7:48PM Oh this VAR chat is doing my head in They got the decision right, it seemed a bit confusing, some wrong graphic did the rounds somewhere. "That could have cost Manchester United a place in the quarter final" says Jake Humphrey. But it was the right decision! If it had been allowed to stand by the referee and linesman then United were 2-0 up and Huddersfield were pretty much done. As it was, Huddersfield could come out in the second half and have a go at only 1-0 because - and this is the crucial bit - the decision was correct. It doesn't matter how many millimetres Mata's knee was offside by, or how stupid that bit of the rule is, he was offside as defined by the laws of the game. Imagine Huddersfield had been able to pull this one back to 2-1. You couldn't blame the VAR for United losing because the decision was correct. It's annoying because it's marginal and seemed a little confusing, and by Jove do people seem to hate being even slightly confuddled about anything. That's what the issue seems to be to me, people a little afraid of change, others not enjoying the feeling of not having control of something they have always thought they understood and that shift to the norm. It will mean little goals like this are ruled out going forward, huge decisions like Lampard's goal vs Germany will count and incorrect decisions don't impact games. I'd imagine smaller teams will benefit in the long term - plenty of big clubs do seem to get the luck of certain decisions at times. 7:37PM Juan Mata likes VAR but found it confusing "I did! I celebrated but you know apparently the VAR showed it was offside. What do you think? Yeh well I dunno, the important thing is it didn't matter but it's the first time I meet VAR. I'm up for it, I think it's needed especially when it's clear in a decision like red card, penalty, offside. I scored a goal, when I came to the dressing room they told me it wasn't very clear. If the VAR isn't clear what do we do? "I'm still not sure!" 7:26PM FULL TIME A clinical win in a solid Man Utd performance. There was nothing particularly inspiring about this one but Huddersfield played really well and were just undone by the quality and cunning of Lukaku's double. If they can play more like this in the Premier League they should be fine. 7:24PM 90 mins +2 Martial has started shielding the ball in the corner, trying to go past players with little tricks. United step up, Huddersfield win the ball back but can't do anything with it. Eric Bailly comes on for the final few seconds, replacing Lukaku. 7:21PM 90 mins Huddersfield keep working the right wing, finding space in behind Martial's half-hearted defensive efforts and Luke Shaw being pulled out of position. Another cross from wide is met in the middle by Mounie, who tries a bicycle kick but shoots harmlessly wide. 7:19PM 87 mins Billing hasn't given up yet though and does some more of his short passing one-two style around the edge of the area. Again, United soak up the pressure and clear their lines. It's so difficult to break Mourinho teams down. Matic looks for Martial with a lovely long pass down the channel. He sprints away, pulls the ball across the area but puts it between Lingard and Lukaku. Neither can get on the end. 7:17PM 85 mins Sabiri heads it from six yards with his first touch but gets underneath the cross and shoots over! That was a decent chance! 7:16PM 84 mins And that should be Lukaku's hat-trick. Lingard gets his aim wrong and passes behind the striker when the chance to tap into an empty net looks on. Huddersfield get forward and win another corner. Sabiri comes on for Van La Parra. 7:14PM 82 mins Lingard on for Mata. It feels like this game is done. Huddersfield don't seem to have enough left in them to turn it around and United are sat deep, taking their time and happy to slow everything down. 7:12PM 80 mins Lukaku has been superb tonight. As I type that he is rather too easily tackled by Schindler but other than that he's been excellent. Martial gets on the ball but can't go past his man, Mounie comes away down the right but doesn't have the support he needs and Malone passes straight to McTominay, who wins a free-kick. 7:08PM 77 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES Hmmm. Sanchez is taken off for Martial. He's not been at his best today but that is presumably to save him for future matches. He does tend to run around a lot. 7:07PM 75 mins Billing picks up the ball on the edge of the area, shapes to shoot on his left but it's a cunning ruse! He cuts onto his right and shoots from a narrow angle but Romero gets behind it and blocks well. United are on the break! Sanchez has men over and looks for Mata at the back post but places it too close to the goalkeeper. 7:05PM 73 mins Great play by United. A few passes forward and Young is put into space on the right, fires a pass low to Lukaku at the edge of the box and he has a chance for a hat-trick, takes too long to shoot, puts the ball on his right foot... and is blocked. 7:02PM 70 mins Malone and Smith come on for Kongolo and Hadergjonaj. Two full-backs swapped - is that to keep them fresh for other games? Or is Wagner trying to find a way back into this one with some energy in wide areas? Ince tries to work himself a little bit of space in the D but his shot is blocked. 7:01PM 68 mins Man Utd happy to sit at half way and invite pressure before launching counter-attacks. 6:58PM 65 mins Credit: REUTERS Matic, Carrick and McTominay have been excellent in the centre of the pitch today. Sanchez keeps moving inside the pitch to get involved, leaving United's left wing empty. 6:55PM 63 mins What a ball. Unbelievable execution from Sanchez, who ignores Shaw's overlapping run and punts what seems like a wild hit forwards but which turns into an inch perfect pass for Lukaku. Lukaku plays Mata in on the overlap, he goes around the outside of his man but his pass to the six yard box is dived on by the goalkeeper. 6:52PM 60 mins Young is put under pressure and accidentally puts a back pass straight out for a corner. Romero punches that one away, Sanchez sends Young away and United have men over again! Could this be a third? Huddersfield do really well to shut down the move before the ball is too close to the box. 6:49PM GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLL! Lukaku goal 2 Absolutely ruthless from Lukaku. United break at rapid speed, Lukaku leads the charge and runs onto a return pass from Sanchez - perfectly weighted and placed. Lukaku does all the hard work, speeds away from the last man, keeps his composure and finishes low past the goalkeeper. It's a smash and grab goal. 6:47PM 54 mins Huddersfield win another free-kick on the edge of the area as Sanchez clumsily brings down Williams. Again the wall does its job. And United are on the break! 6:44PM 53 mins Ince takes it on his left foot, hits the wall and there's a little scramble in the box. La Parra swings at thin air, Mata puts a high foot up. Smalling puts in a strong, perfectly timed challenge to kill the attack. Shaw is bumped into by La Parra... and Man Utd have a goal kick. 6:43PM 51 mins Huddersfield are at it in this half. They win a free-kick on the edge of the area, which suits a left footer. Tom Ince stands over the ball, Billing stands in front to block the view. Shaw and Sanchez are way forward of the 10 yard referee line and he has to come over to tell them to wise up. 6:40PM 48 mins Great ball towards Hadergjonaj from deep! The full-back has a race with Shaw to get to a through-pass towards the United penalty area but loses. Lukaku wins a free-kick wide right about 30 yards out. 6:38PM KICK OFF 2 We're back! 6:37PM Romelu Lukaku scared of lip readers Top secret information from Lukaku to his boss. I dislike this growing trend for footballers to hide their words from the cameras. 6:30PM Actual VAR lines Aaaaaand apparently the VAR did have access to straight lines and wasn't looking at the bendy lines one. And if this is the view they've seen, how is it offside? How is that offside? It's mental. 6:25PM Let's recap Mata scored a perfectly good goal, the VAR reviewed the decision and ruled it out because of some very bendy lines. Above is BT Sport's graphic, below is the VAR: Are the lines bent because it's catering for the camera angle? I'm stumped and really can't work it out. Just to add, I love VAR but when you get someone freehand drawing lines on a screen to work out if someone is offside or not... what the hell even is this? 6:21PM HALF TIME Well well well. It looks like we're going to need VAR for the VAR! To be fair, at least the officials have had the chance to look at the evidence and make an informed decision but that seems extraordinarily harsh on Mata. 6:21PM GOOOOOOO oh no it's offside too United have the ball in the back of the net again but this time the offside call is much easier. 6:20PM 45 mins +3 Umm. Who's been drawing these lines? 6:18PM NO GOOOOOAAAAALLLL Controversial scenes here! The VAR has reviewed the decision and think that Mata's knee is offside! That's amazing. It's still 1-0! 6:18PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLL!!!! Mata goal Ashley Young is superb on the right wing, skips past two challenges and puts a brilliant ball into the area for Mata. He must be offside! He must be! Mata goes around the goalkeeper and slots in. 6:14PM 42 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES Look who it is! Fergie and David Gill have come to watch their favourite team. At the moment they're watching them defend a corner... which Romero punches clear. Kongolo fouls Smalling and United take their time over the free-kick. 6:12PM 41 mins Billing's having a decent game in the Huddersfield midfield and always seems to be involved when they have the ball. Wagner's side have a lost a bit of their zip and the tempo has slowed in the last 10 minutes or so, United crushing the game and making things a little less fluid. Lukaku finds Sanchez with an absolutely brilliant switched pass but Sanchez's cross is headed away. 6:09PM 38 mins Mounie goes down after a battle in the air with Smalling but it's more a problem with his ankle than his head. 6:07PM 35 mins Billing tries an effort from long range, saved by Romero. Lukaku tries one on his right-footed from outside the area and is blocked. 6:03PM 33 mins Credit: PA Tom Ince has just seen the video for "Just" by Radiohead. 6:02PM 32 mins Shaw's clearance isn't very good and Huddersfield are able keep the pressure up and win a corner. Smalling and Lindelof both attack it and head the ball behind between them - that's poor communication from the centre-backs and they're pretty fortunate not to have clashed heads. 6:00PM 30 mins Danny Williams has players right and left to pass to but the pitch opens up and he decides to shoot from all of 30 yards. Romero saves easily. 5:58PM 27 mins United win a corner. Sanchez hooks it into the box, Matic has space but can't control properly... the chance goes and then Lukaku is caught offside as a long ball is aimed onto Smalling's head to knock on. Mata angrily waves at his teammates to suggest they're not doing what they're supposed to be. Sanchez looks a little lost in this United team for me. He doesn't seem sure when or who to press, or even where he's really playing. 5:54PM 24 mins Lukaku defends at left-back... I'm not sure why it's really happened. Moments later Huddersfield attack down the right again - they're focusing all their attacks down that channel - and a teasing ball around the centre-backs almost provides a chance for Tom Ince to score. He slides in but can't quite get enough on the shot. Goal kick. Luke Shaw is being done in down the left wing, he needs Alexis Sanchez to do some tracking back. 5:52PM 21 mins Lukaku finds Sanchez with a clever through-pass but the Chilean can't do much with it and is offside anyway. United have calmed the Huddersfield storm. McTominay changes La Parra but is a little too eager to tackle him and gives away a free-kick. 5:49PM 19 mins Credit: REUTERS Ashley Young gets forward and from just in front of the box looks to find Lukaku with an early, bending pass. It's deflected behind for a corner, Mata swings it in and Smalling has the chance to get a shot in from 12 yards! He swings at it but is blocked, Huddersfield head away. Sanchez gives a poor pass straight to a Huddersfield player. 5:47PM 16 mins Mourinho is up on the touchline yelling instructions at his players, urging them to push up the pitch quickly to stop the Huddersfield onslaught of attacks. 5:46PM 15 mins I love that Graham Poll sounds a lot like Tim Key, so that whenever he turns up to do some voiceover analysis on referee decisions, it's like Sidekick Simon from Alan Partridge is weighing in. Huddersfield really taking the game to Man Utd here and have them trapped on the back foot. Romero has to save a long range effort. This suits Mourinho's counter-attack style but at the moment, they're in danger of being overrun by blue and white shirts. 5:43PM 12 mins Sanchez is taking up really central positions for United, playing alongside Lukaku while in possession. The away fans are singing "ooh aaah Eric Cantona" - presumably he's there somewhere. 5:41PM 10 mins Huddersfield have started really well here (apart from conceding) and are going at Man Utd. They're pressing high, playing quick forward passes and have won another corner. That's slightly cheeky (the ball isn't in the corner circle) and if Huddersfield score from it, will have the goal disallowed. VAR is a strange creature. That corner is dealt with after a bit of a penalty box scramble. This game is alive! 5:39PM 7 mins PENALTY! That should be a penalty shouldn't it? Graham Poll says Chris Smalling's hand pinging the ball away at face height from a corner doesn't qualify as a penalty. Huddersfield keep the pressure up. IIINCE! That's so close from Ince! He might be offside but is able to turn inside the area and pulls the ball across the box, just unable to get it on target or provide a tap in to a teammate. 5:36PM GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLL! Lukaku goal This is absolutely brilliant striker play by Lukaku. Mata finds him with a superb through ball, he turns his man, sprints on the counter-attack all the way to the box and then bounces the defender off him easily, cuts onto his right foot and finishes coolly past Lossl. That's the Lukaku we like to see! 5:33PM 2 mins United pressing high from the start but Huddersfield do well to bypass it and Quaner takes on Shaw, never looks up and then drags a shot way wide of goal from the corner of the box. That was ever so slightly ambitious. 5:32PM KICK OFF Here we go! 5:24PM Mourinho's happy selfie face Credit: GETTY IMAGES 5:19PM David Wagner says "It was me. We said after the defeat at Old Trafford, OK come on boys. Now we have to show we are capable, the players have done it, played very good football, been solid defensively and strong offensively. We are happy and glad to host United in the FA Cup. "I think we've seen you have to make everything right and be on your best to be a competitor, we are excited today. This is a present for our supporters who follow us all season and we will try our best to come through it." 5:06PM Jose Mourinho pre-match comments "I think it's a beautiful moment for the players (Gomes and Hamilton), even if they don't play. Gomes did play for us a couple of times in the Premier League and Hamilton is the first time on the bench, I think it's beautiful for them. On the bench I have four senior players ready to play without question mark, and the fact they play yesterday for the under-23s doesn't mean I'm not going to play them. "In here we have a couple of mistakes and we pay for that. At our house we have a very organised wall, very compact, but we play well and when we scored we kept control. Today they're in their natural habitat and they'll want to try to be a giant killer and to arrive at Wembley, which is a dream for everyone." 4:55PM Huddersfield team TEAM NEWS with @ViessmannUK: Head Coach David Wagner has made 4⃣ changes to his starting line-up for #htafc's @EmiratesFACup match vs @ManUtd. ➡️ @KongoloTerence, @BillingPhilip, Danny Williams & @CollinQuaner ⬅️ @ScottyMalone28, Jonathan Hogg, @AaronMooy & @pritch_93 (AT) pic.twitter.com/R1F1RLRRFs— Huddersfield Town (@htafcdotcom) February 17, 2018 4:49PM Pogba's been on the internet Gutted I won’t be at Huddersfield but I need to get better. Come on United ���� @ManUtd— Paul Pogba (@paulpogba) February 17, 2018 4:45PM Jose Mourinho on Paul Pogba's absence When did you find out? "This morning, I was told by the doctor. No honestly I don't care, I focus on the game, just the game. I know Paul cannot play, I will think about Paul after the match." 4:36PM Jose Mourinho film poster Credit: GETTY IMAGES Jose Mourinho's been busy posing for his new film. Imagine explosions in the background and it's pretty nailed on. Could also be an album cover. 4:25PM Pre-game photos Credit: GETTY IMAGES Credit: REUTERS 4:22PM Man Utd starting lineup Six changes for Man Utd. No Pogba, De Gea, Jones, Lingard, Valencia and Martial all rested/dropped. Six changes for #MUFC - here's today's line-up! #FACuppic.twitter.com/JN9IyctMO3— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 17, 2018 Romero, Young, Lindelof, Smalling, Shaw, Matic, Carrick, McTominay, Mata, Lukaku, Sanchez. �� A first appearance on the #MUFC bench for Ethan Hamilton... pic.twitter.com/Qj8XcDOjpN— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 17, 2018 There's also a spot on the bench for highly rated (and really young) attacking midfielder Angel Gomes. 3:43PM Hello! Good (late) afternoon to you, my football friends. Welcome to our liveblog for Huddersfield vs Manchester United in the FA Cup, a game Paul Pogba will miss through illness. Hmmm. It'll be very interesting to see what team Jose Mourinho names for this. The FA Cup is probably his best chance of a trophy for the rest of the season, what with the Champions League being rather hard to win and all that, but Man Utd come into this on the back of some indifferent form. Credit: GETTY IMAGES Newcastle were able to secure a 1-0 win defending 'with their lives' in United's last game, and next is Sevilla, which will surely mean Mourinho rests a few key players. Lindelof, Shaw, Carrick and Rojo could all find themselves in the starting XI and Eric Bailly is very close to a first team return. Due to United's form, David Wagner might be inclined to play a full strength Huddersfield side and take advantage of low confidence, though Aaron Mooy and Laurent Depoitre are likely to be rested, with both doubts for this game. Team news should be in at 4:30pm.
Huddersfield 0 Man Utd 2: VAR controversy as Romelu Lukaku sends United into quarter final
Video technology was supposed to help reduce controversial decisions in football but it served only to add to the confusion on a night when Manchester United’s progression to the FA Cup quarter-finals felt secondary to the debate stirred by the dodgy interpretation of a system that could take a while to catch on. Romelu Lukaku converted United’s only two shots on target to banish Huddersfield Town in a game in which Jose Mourinho’s side looked very ordinary for long periods but by the end the talk centred less on the victory, a last eight pairing with Brighton or Paul Pogba’s absence with a mysterious illness than the controversial Video Assistant Referee (VAR). On the cusp of half-time, Ashley Young wriggled free down the right, nipped past a non-existent challenge from Terence Kongolo and crossed for Juan Mata, who showed composure to dance round Jonas Lossl, the Huddersfield goalkeeper. The linesman’s flag stayed down, but as United’s players wheeled away in celebration, referee Kevin Friend called for VAR. And so for a couple of minutes the John Smith’s Stadium went quiet as players and supporters from both camps awaited a decision and Mourinho, Daivd Wagner, his Huddersfield counterpart, and fourth official Anthony Taylor muttered to each other in the technical area. In the meantime, television replays appeared to show Mata was marginally onside when Young crossed. But then word eventually came through from the Neil Swarbrick, the VAR in his studio in London 200 miles away, that Mata was offside and Friend disallowed the goal. And this is where the confusion really started. BT Sport offside lines Credit: BT SPORT According to Mike Riley, general manager of PGMOL, the referees’ governing body, VAR should only be used to overturn a “clear and obvious” error and, as Mourinho was keen to stress, there was nothing clear and obvious about this incident. Was Mata’s left knee cap offside? Yes, probably a fraction. But it did not help either that the lines Swarbrick was using to determine the decision were wonkier than those drawn by a toddler. Mata certainly looked hard done by on the contrasting images circulated by BT Sport. But the underlying point was even if Swarbrick was right, he had misinterpreted the protocol and, in the process, opened up a whole can of worms. “We have VAR in Portugal and the Portuguese league is the league I follow when I am at home and have nothing to do and I am familiar with amazing results of the VAR and problems and frustrations,” Mourinho said. “It is amazing when the truth comes but also problems like what happened today which goes against the words of the protocol. The words of the protocol are something like a ‘clear and obvious’ situation and for sure this is not a clear and obvious situation but we know it is experimental and we have to accept it but I am speaking after a 2-0 victory. “At half time I had to say 20 times to my analysts to shut up because I don’t want the players to know what happened. I want the players to think it is offside and to move on. But one day it will go in our favour.” Lukaku celebrates his second goal Credit: REUTERS Suffice to say, Mourinho might have been far less impressed had the decision proved costly to United but then even Wagner was unhappy with what he saw. “I said immediately to Jose that whatever will now be decided, whether it goes in our favour or not, I don’t like it,” the Huddersfield manager said. “It killed emotions in stands and for us managers in dug out. "This is why I don’t like this system, and when I hear even with this system it was very difficult and tight to decide if it was right, this makes no sense to me.” The one thing the confusion over VAR did do was deflect some attention away from a turgid first period from United. They were much improved after the interval, when a second goal for Lukaku calmed nerves and Huddersfield’s hopes of a comeback wilted after a spirited reaction to the Belgian’s third minute finish, but this was not a performance that will give Sevilla much cause for concern ahead of the first leg of their Champions League Round of 16 tie next Wednesday. Gutted I won’t be at Huddersfield but I need to get better. Come on United ���� @ManUtd— Paul Pogba (@paulpogba) February 17, 2018 Eric Bailly, a late substitute here after 3½ months out with an ankle injury, should feature against the Spaniards but whether Pogba returns is less clear. United had taken the unusual step of issuing a statement before kick-off to explain Pogba was missing through illness but Mourinho claimed afterwards he did not know what the exact problem was, although he insisted somewhat pointedly that he had planned to start the Frenchman on the left of a midfield three. “When I was told by the doctor this morning that he was not coming, I don’t want to know anything else about it,” Mourinho said. “I have to think who is going to replace him. Now is the time to think about Paul, to know what happened, why he didn’t feel good enough to play, can he play or be available to help us on Wednesday. Now we eat something in the bus and wait for information.” Managers David Wager and Jose Mourinho on the touchline Credit: Getty images Coming in a week when Mourinho felt compelled to refute claims Pogba was having second thoughts over his decision to join United amid apparent frustration at his role, it was inevitable his absence would set tongues wagging. But United’s first half struggles, with the midfield sat too deep and inviting Huddersfield to attack, underlined how much better this team are with Pogba in it. That said, Lukaku took both of his goals clinically at the start of both halves while Huddersfield blew their best two chances, Thomas Ince failing to turn in a low cross and Rajiv Van la Parra shanking a volley wide. Released by Juan Mata for the first, Lukaku cut inside Christopher Schindler with ease before firing low into the bottom corner and he not only finished but started the second. Finding Sanchez before carrying on his run, the Chilean’s return pass to Lukaku was sublime, splitting Huddersfield’s defence, and the the Belgian demonstrated a cool head to run across Danny Williams and slot home. 7:51PM Mourinho on VAR "I keep saying that it should be a referee's decision and not our decision. Why? Because the referees want to perform well and they're not happy to make mistakes, and if they have the VAR to help them make the decision, I think the referees would be happy with that. "But if the VAR change their decisions from good decisions to bad decisions (laughs) it's a bit frustrating. He's touching (his ear) and I think something is going to happen. I dunno what to say, it was a beautiful action. "After the Premier League I follow the Portuguese one and we have it there, amazing things that put the true in the result. BUt I also saw some controversial decisions that bring the VAR into a doubtful situation. I'm happy with the decision, it's like the technology on the goal line. I don't want to score if the ball doesn't cross the line, I'm happy with the true." 7:48PM Oh this VAR chat is doing my head in They got the decision right, it seemed a bit confusing, some wrong graphic did the rounds somewhere. "That could have cost Manchester United a place in the quarter final" says Jake Humphrey. But it was the right decision! If it had been allowed to stand by the referee and linesman then United were 2-0 up and Huddersfield were pretty much done. As it was, Huddersfield could come out in the second half and have a go at only 1-0 because - and this is the crucial bit - the decision was correct. It doesn't matter how many millimetres Mata's knee was offside by, or how stupid that bit of the rule is, he was offside as defined by the laws of the game. Imagine Huddersfield had been able to pull this one back to 2-1. You couldn't blame the VAR for United losing because the decision was correct. It's annoying because it's marginal and seemed a little confusing, and by Jove do people seem to hate being even slightly confuddled about anything. That's what the issue seems to be to me, people a little afraid of change, others not enjoying the feeling of not having control of something they have always thought they understood and that shift to the norm. It will mean little goals like this are ruled out going forward, huge decisions like Lampard's goal vs Germany will count and incorrect decisions don't impact games. I'd imagine smaller teams will benefit in the long term - plenty of big clubs do seem to get the luck of certain decisions at times. 7:37PM Juan Mata likes VAR but found it confusing "I did! I celebrated but you know apparently the VAR showed it was offside. What do you think? Yeh well I dunno, the important thing is it didn't matter but it's the first time I meet VAR. I'm up for it, I think it's needed especially when it's clear in a decision like red card, penalty, offside. I scored a goal, when I came to the dressing room they told me it wasn't very clear. If the VAR isn't clear what do we do? "I'm still not sure!" 7:26PM FULL TIME A clinical win in a solid Man Utd performance. There was nothing particularly inspiring about this one but Huddersfield played really well and were just undone by the quality and cunning of Lukaku's double. If they can play more like this in the Premier League they should be fine. 7:24PM 90 mins +2 Martial has started shielding the ball in the corner, trying to go past players with little tricks. United step up, Huddersfield win the ball back but can't do anything with it. Eric Bailly comes on for the final few seconds, replacing Lukaku. 7:21PM 90 mins Huddersfield keep working the right wing, finding space in behind Martial's half-hearted defensive efforts and Luke Shaw being pulled out of position. Another cross from wide is met in the middle by Mounie, who tries a bicycle kick but shoots harmlessly wide. 7:19PM 87 mins Billing hasn't given up yet though and does some more of his short passing one-two style around the edge of the area. Again, United soak up the pressure and clear their lines. It's so difficult to break Mourinho teams down. Matic looks for Martial with a lovely long pass down the channel. He sprints away, pulls the ball across the area but puts it between Lingard and Lukaku. Neither can get on the end. 7:17PM 85 mins Sabiri heads it from six yards with his first touch but gets underneath the cross and shoots over! That was a decent chance! 7:16PM 84 mins And that should be Lukaku's hat-trick. Lingard gets his aim wrong and passes behind the striker when the chance to tap into an empty net looks on. Huddersfield get forward and win another corner. Sabiri comes on for Van La Parra. 7:14PM 82 mins Lingard on for Mata. It feels like this game is done. Huddersfield don't seem to have enough left in them to turn it around and United are sat deep, taking their time and happy to slow everything down. 7:12PM 80 mins Lukaku has been superb tonight. As I type that he is rather too easily tackled by Schindler but other than that he's been excellent. Martial gets on the ball but can't go past his man, Mounie comes away down the right but doesn't have the support he needs and Malone passes straight to McTominay, who wins a free-kick. 7:08PM 77 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES Hmmm. Sanchez is taken off for Martial. He's not been at his best today but that is presumably to save him for future matches. He does tend to run around a lot. 7:07PM 75 mins Billing picks up the ball on the edge of the area, shapes to shoot on his left but it's a cunning ruse! He cuts onto his right and shoots from a narrow angle but Romero gets behind it and blocks well. United are on the break! Sanchez has men over and looks for Mata at the back post but places it too close to the goalkeeper. 7:05PM 73 mins Great play by United. A few passes forward and Young is put into space on the right, fires a pass low to Lukaku at the edge of the box and he has a chance for a hat-trick, takes too long to shoot, puts the ball on his right foot... and is blocked. 7:02PM 70 mins Malone and Smith come on for Kongolo and Hadergjonaj. Two full-backs swapped - is that to keep them fresh for other games? Or is Wagner trying to find a way back into this one with some energy in wide areas? Ince tries to work himself a little bit of space in the D but his shot is blocked. 7:01PM 68 mins Man Utd happy to sit at half way and invite pressure before launching counter-attacks. 6:58PM 65 mins Credit: REUTERS Matic, Carrick and McTominay have been excellent in the centre of the pitch today. Sanchez keeps moving inside the pitch to get involved, leaving United's left wing empty. 6:55PM 63 mins What a ball. Unbelievable execution from Sanchez, who ignores Shaw's overlapping run and punts what seems like a wild hit forwards but which turns into an inch perfect pass for Lukaku. Lukaku plays Mata in on the overlap, he goes around the outside of his man but his pass to the six yard box is dived on by the goalkeeper. 6:52PM 60 mins Young is put under pressure and accidentally puts a back pass straight out for a corner. Romero punches that one away, Sanchez sends Young away and United have men over again! Could this be a third? Huddersfield do really well to shut down the move before the ball is too close to the box. 6:49PM GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLL! Lukaku goal 2 Absolutely ruthless from Lukaku. United break at rapid speed, Lukaku leads the charge and runs onto a return pass from Sanchez - perfectly weighted and placed. Lukaku does all the hard work, speeds away from the last man, keeps his composure and finishes low past the goalkeeper. It's a smash and grab goal. 6:47PM 54 mins Huddersfield win another free-kick on the edge of the area as Sanchez clumsily brings down Williams. Again the wall does its job. And United are on the break! 6:44PM 53 mins Ince takes it on his left foot, hits the wall and there's a little scramble in the box. La Parra swings at thin air, Mata puts a high foot up. Smalling puts in a strong, perfectly timed challenge to kill the attack. Shaw is bumped into by La Parra... and Man Utd have a goal kick. 6:43PM 51 mins Huddersfield are at it in this half. They win a free-kick on the edge of the area, which suits a left footer. Tom Ince stands over the ball, Billing stands in front to block the view. Shaw and Sanchez are way forward of the 10 yard referee line and he has to come over to tell them to wise up. 6:40PM 48 mins Great ball towards Hadergjonaj from deep! The full-back has a race with Shaw to get to a through-pass towards the United penalty area but loses. Lukaku wins a free-kick wide right about 30 yards out. 6:38PM KICK OFF 2 We're back! 6:37PM Romelu Lukaku scared of lip readers Top secret information from Lukaku to his boss. I dislike this growing trend for footballers to hide their words from the cameras. 6:30PM Actual VAR lines Aaaaaand apparently the VAR did have access to straight lines and wasn't looking at the bendy lines one. And if this is the view they've seen, how is it offside? How is that offside? It's mental. 6:25PM Let's recap Mata scored a perfectly good goal, the VAR reviewed the decision and ruled it out because of some very bendy lines. Above is BT Sport's graphic, below is the VAR: Are the lines bent because it's catering for the camera angle? I'm stumped and really can't work it out. Just to add, I love VAR but when you get someone freehand drawing lines on a screen to work out if someone is offside or not... what the hell even is this? 6:21PM HALF TIME Well well well. It looks like we're going to need VAR for the VAR! To be fair, at least the officials have had the chance to look at the evidence and make an informed decision but that seems extraordinarily harsh on Mata. 6:21PM GOOOOOOO oh no it's offside too United have the ball in the back of the net again but this time the offside call is much easier. 6:20PM 45 mins +3 Umm. Who's been drawing these lines? 6:18PM NO GOOOOOAAAAALLLL Controversial scenes here! The VAR has reviewed the decision and think that Mata's knee is offside! That's amazing. It's still 1-0! 6:18PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLL!!!! Mata goal Ashley Young is superb on the right wing, skips past two challenges and puts a brilliant ball into the area for Mata. He must be offside! He must be! Mata goes around the goalkeeper and slots in. 6:14PM 42 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES Look who it is! Fergie and David Gill have come to watch their favourite team. At the moment they're watching them defend a corner... which Romero punches clear. Kongolo fouls Smalling and United take their time over the free-kick. 6:12PM 41 mins Billing's having a decent game in the Huddersfield midfield and always seems to be involved when they have the ball. Wagner's side have a lost a bit of their zip and the tempo has slowed in the last 10 minutes or so, United crushing the game and making things a little less fluid. Lukaku finds Sanchez with an absolutely brilliant switched pass but Sanchez's cross is headed away. 6:09PM 38 mins Mounie goes down after a battle in the air with Smalling but it's more a problem with his ankle than his head. 6:07PM 35 mins Billing tries an effort from long range, saved by Romero. Lukaku tries one on his right-footed from outside the area and is blocked. 6:03PM 33 mins Credit: PA Tom Ince has just seen the video for "Just" by Radiohead. 6:02PM 32 mins Shaw's clearance isn't very good and Huddersfield are able keep the pressure up and win a corner. Smalling and Lindelof both attack it and head the ball behind between them - that's poor communication from the centre-backs and they're pretty fortunate not to have clashed heads. 6:00PM 30 mins Danny Williams has players right and left to pass to but the pitch opens up and he decides to shoot from all of 30 yards. Romero saves easily. 5:58PM 27 mins United win a corner. Sanchez hooks it into the box, Matic has space but can't control properly... the chance goes and then Lukaku is caught offside as a long ball is aimed onto Smalling's head to knock on. Mata angrily waves at his teammates to suggest they're not doing what they're supposed to be. Sanchez looks a little lost in this United team for me. He doesn't seem sure when or who to press, or even where he's really playing. 5:54PM 24 mins Lukaku defends at left-back... I'm not sure why it's really happened. Moments later Huddersfield attack down the right again - they're focusing all their attacks down that channel - and a teasing ball around the centre-backs almost provides a chance for Tom Ince to score. He slides in but can't quite get enough on the shot. Goal kick. Luke Shaw is being done in down the left wing, he needs Alexis Sanchez to do some tracking back. 5:52PM 21 mins Lukaku finds Sanchez with a clever through-pass but the Chilean can't do much with it and is offside anyway. United have calmed the Huddersfield storm. McTominay changes La Parra but is a little too eager to tackle him and gives away a free-kick. 5:49PM 19 mins Credit: REUTERS Ashley Young gets forward and from just in front of the box looks to find Lukaku with an early, bending pass. It's deflected behind for a corner, Mata swings it in and Smalling has the chance to get a shot in from 12 yards! He swings at it but is blocked, Huddersfield head away. Sanchez gives a poor pass straight to a Huddersfield player. 5:47PM 16 mins Mourinho is up on the touchline yelling instructions at his players, urging them to push up the pitch quickly to stop the Huddersfield onslaught of attacks. 5:46PM 15 mins I love that Graham Poll sounds a lot like Tim Key, so that whenever he turns up to do some voiceover analysis on referee decisions, it's like Sidekick Simon from Alan Partridge is weighing in. Huddersfield really taking the game to Man Utd here and have them trapped on the back foot. Romero has to save a long range effort. This suits Mourinho's counter-attack style but at the moment, they're in danger of being overrun by blue and white shirts. 5:43PM 12 mins Sanchez is taking up really central positions for United, playing alongside Lukaku while in possession. The away fans are singing "ooh aaah Eric Cantona" - presumably he's there somewhere. 5:41PM 10 mins Huddersfield have started really well here (apart from conceding) and are going at Man Utd. They're pressing high, playing quick forward passes and have won another corner. That's slightly cheeky (the ball isn't in the corner circle) and if Huddersfield score from it, will have the goal disallowed. VAR is a strange creature. That corner is dealt with after a bit of a penalty box scramble. This game is alive! 5:39PM 7 mins PENALTY! That should be a penalty shouldn't it? Graham Poll says Chris Smalling's hand pinging the ball away at face height from a corner doesn't qualify as a penalty. Huddersfield keep the pressure up. IIINCE! That's so close from Ince! He might be offside but is able to turn inside the area and pulls the ball across the box, just unable to get it on target or provide a tap in to a teammate. 5:36PM GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLL! Lukaku goal This is absolutely brilliant striker play by Lukaku. Mata finds him with a superb through ball, he turns his man, sprints on the counter-attack all the way to the box and then bounces the defender off him easily, cuts onto his right foot and finishes coolly past Lossl. That's the Lukaku we like to see! 5:33PM 2 mins United pressing high from the start but Huddersfield do well to bypass it and Quaner takes on Shaw, never looks up and then drags a shot way wide of goal from the corner of the box. That was ever so slightly ambitious. 5:32PM KICK OFF Here we go! 5:24PM Mourinho's happy selfie face Credit: GETTY IMAGES 5:19PM David Wagner says "It was me. We said after the defeat at Old Trafford, OK come on boys. Now we have to show we are capable, the players have done it, played very good football, been solid defensively and strong offensively. We are happy and glad to host United in the FA Cup. "I think we've seen you have to make everything right and be on your best to be a competitor, we are excited today. This is a present for our supporters who follow us all season and we will try our best to come through it." 5:06PM Jose Mourinho pre-match comments "I think it's a beautiful moment for the players (Gomes and Hamilton), even if they don't play. Gomes did play for us a couple of times in the Premier League and Hamilton is the first time on the bench, I think it's beautiful for them. On the bench I have four senior players ready to play without question mark, and the fact they play yesterday for the under-23s doesn't mean I'm not going to play them. "In here we have a couple of mistakes and we pay for that. At our house we have a very organised wall, very compact, but we play well and when we scored we kept control. Today they're in their natural habitat and they'll want to try to be a giant killer and to arrive at Wembley, which is a dream for everyone." 4:55PM Huddersfield team TEAM NEWS with @ViessmannUK: Head Coach David Wagner has made 4⃣ changes to his starting line-up for #htafc's @EmiratesFACup match vs @ManUtd. ➡️ @KongoloTerence, @BillingPhilip, Danny Williams & @CollinQuaner ⬅️ @ScottyMalone28, Jonathan Hogg, @AaronMooy & @pritch_93 (AT) pic.twitter.com/R1F1RLRRFs— Huddersfield Town (@htafcdotcom) February 17, 2018 4:49PM Pogba's been on the internet Gutted I won’t be at Huddersfield but I need to get better. Come on United ���� @ManUtd— Paul Pogba (@paulpogba) February 17, 2018 4:45PM Jose Mourinho on Paul Pogba's absence When did you find out? "This morning, I was told by the doctor. No honestly I don't care, I focus on the game, just the game. I know Paul cannot play, I will think about Paul after the match." 4:36PM Jose Mourinho film poster Credit: GETTY IMAGES Jose Mourinho's been busy posing for his new film. Imagine explosions in the background and it's pretty nailed on. Could also be an album cover. 4:25PM Pre-game photos Credit: GETTY IMAGES Credit: REUTERS 4:22PM Man Utd starting lineup Six changes for Man Utd. No Pogba, De Gea, Jones, Lingard, Valencia and Martial all rested/dropped. Six changes for #MUFC - here's today's line-up! #FACuppic.twitter.com/JN9IyctMO3— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 17, 2018 Romero, Young, Lindelof, Smalling, Shaw, Matic, Carrick, McTominay, Mata, Lukaku, Sanchez. �� A first appearance on the #MUFC bench for Ethan Hamilton... pic.twitter.com/Qj8XcDOjpN— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 17, 2018 There's also a spot on the bench for highly rated (and really young) attacking midfielder Angel Gomes. 3:43PM Hello! Good (late) afternoon to you, my football friends. Welcome to our liveblog for Huddersfield vs Manchester United in the FA Cup, a game Paul Pogba will miss through illness. Hmmm. It'll be very interesting to see what team Jose Mourinho names for this. The FA Cup is probably his best chance of a trophy for the rest of the season, what with the Champions League being rather hard to win and all that, but Man Utd come into this on the back of some indifferent form. Credit: GETTY IMAGES Newcastle were able to secure a 1-0 win defending 'with their lives' in United's last game, and next is Sevilla, which will surely mean Mourinho rests a few key players. Lindelof, Shaw, Carrick and Rojo could all find themselves in the starting XI and Eric Bailly is very close to a first team return. Due to United's form, David Wagner might be inclined to play a full strength Huddersfield side and take advantage of low confidence, though Aaron Mooy and Laurent Depoitre are likely to be rested, with both doubts for this game. Team news should be in at 4:30pm.
Video technology was supposed to help reduce controversial decisions in football but it served only to add to the confusion on a night when Manchester United’s progression to the FA Cup quarter-finals felt secondary to the debate stirred by the dodgy interpretation of a system that could take a while to catch on. Romelu Lukaku converted United’s only two shots on target to banish Huddersfield Town in a game in which Jose Mourinho’s side looked very ordinary for long periods but by the end the talk centred less on the victory, a last eight pairing with Brighton or Paul Pogba’s absence with a mysterious illness than the controversial Video Assistant Referee (VAR). On the cusp of half-time, Ashley Young wriggled free down the right, nipped past a non-existent challenge from Terence Kongolo and crossed for Juan Mata, who showed composure to dance round Jonas Lossl, the Huddersfield goalkeeper. The linesman’s flag stayed down, but as United’s players wheeled away in celebration, referee Kevin Friend called for VAR. And so for a couple of minutes the John Smith’s Stadium went quiet as players and supporters from both camps awaited a decision and Mourinho, Daivd Wagner, his Huddersfield counterpart, and fourth official Anthony Taylor muttered to each other in the technical area. In the meantime, television replays appeared to show Mata was marginally onside when Young crossed. But then word eventually came through from the Neil Swarbrick, the VAR in his studio in London 200 miles away, that Mata was offside and Friend disallowed the goal. And this is where the confusion really started. BT Sport offside lines Credit: BT SPORT According to Mike Riley, general manager of PGMOL, the referees’ governing body, VAR should only be used to overturn a “clear and obvious” error and, as Mourinho was keen to stress, there was nothing clear and obvious about this incident. Was Mata’s left knee cap offside? Yes, probably a fraction. But it did not help either that the lines Swarbrick was using to determine the decision were wonkier than those drawn by a toddler. Mata certainly looked hard done by on the contrasting images circulated by BT Sport. But the underlying point was even if Swarbrick was right, he had misinterpreted the protocol and, in the process, opened up a whole can of worms. “We have VAR in Portugal and the Portuguese league is the league I follow when I am at home and have nothing to do and I am familiar with amazing results of the VAR and problems and frustrations,” Mourinho said. “It is amazing when the truth comes but also problems like what happened today which goes against the words of the protocol. The words of the protocol are something like a ‘clear and obvious’ situation and for sure this is not a clear and obvious situation but we know it is experimental and we have to accept it but I am speaking after a 2-0 victory. “At half time I had to say 20 times to my analysts to shut up because I don’t want the players to know what happened. I want the players to think it is offside and to move on. But one day it will go in our favour.” Lukaku celebrates his second goal Credit: REUTERS Suffice to say, Mourinho might have been far less impressed had the decision proved costly to United but then even Wagner was unhappy with what he saw. “I said immediately to Jose that whatever will now be decided, whether it goes in our favour or not, I don’t like it,” the Huddersfield manager said. “It killed emotions in stands and for us managers in dug out. "This is why I don’t like this system, and when I hear even with this system it was very difficult and tight to decide if it was right, this makes no sense to me.” The one thing the confusion over VAR did do was deflect some attention away from a turgid first period from United. They were much improved after the interval, when a second goal for Lukaku calmed nerves and Huddersfield’s hopes of a comeback wilted after a spirited reaction to the Belgian’s third minute finish, but this was not a performance that will give Sevilla much cause for concern ahead of the first leg of their Champions League Round of 16 tie next Wednesday. Gutted I won’t be at Huddersfield but I need to get better. Come on United ���� @ManUtd— Paul Pogba (@paulpogba) February 17, 2018 Eric Bailly, a late substitute here after 3½ months out with an ankle injury, should feature against the Spaniards but whether Pogba returns is less clear. United had taken the unusual step of issuing a statement before kick-off to explain Pogba was missing through illness but Mourinho claimed afterwards he did not know what the exact problem was, although he insisted somewhat pointedly that he had planned to start the Frenchman on the left of a midfield three. “When I was told by the doctor this morning that he was not coming, I don’t want to know anything else about it,” Mourinho said. “I have to think who is going to replace him. Now is the time to think about Paul, to know what happened, why he didn’t feel good enough to play, can he play or be available to help us on Wednesday. Now we eat something in the bus and wait for information.” Managers David Wager and Jose Mourinho on the touchline Credit: Getty images Coming in a week when Mourinho felt compelled to refute claims Pogba was having second thoughts over his decision to join United amid apparent frustration at his role, it was inevitable his absence would set tongues wagging. But United’s first half struggles, with the midfield sat too deep and inviting Huddersfield to attack, underlined how much better this team are with Pogba in it. That said, Lukaku took both of his goals clinically at the start of both halves while Huddersfield blew their best two chances, Thomas Ince failing to turn in a low cross and Rajiv Van la Parra shanking a volley wide. Released by Juan Mata for the first, Lukaku cut inside Christopher Schindler with ease before firing low into the bottom corner and he not only finished but started the second. Finding Sanchez before carrying on his run, the Chilean’s return pass to Lukaku was sublime, splitting Huddersfield’s defence, and the the Belgian demonstrated a cool head to run across Danny Williams and slot home. 7:51PM Mourinho on VAR "I keep saying that it should be a referee's decision and not our decision. Why? Because the referees want to perform well and they're not happy to make mistakes, and if they have the VAR to help them make the decision, I think the referees would be happy with that. "But if the VAR change their decisions from good decisions to bad decisions (laughs) it's a bit frustrating. He's touching (his ear) and I think something is going to happen. I dunno what to say, it was a beautiful action. "After the Premier League I follow the Portuguese one and we have it there, amazing things that put the true in the result. BUt I also saw some controversial decisions that bring the VAR into a doubtful situation. I'm happy with the decision, it's like the technology on the goal line. I don't want to score if the ball doesn't cross the line, I'm happy with the true." 7:48PM Oh this VAR chat is doing my head in They got the decision right, it seemed a bit confusing, some wrong graphic did the rounds somewhere. "That could have cost Manchester United a place in the quarter final" says Jake Humphrey. But it was the right decision! If it had been allowed to stand by the referee and linesman then United were 2-0 up and Huddersfield were pretty much done. As it was, Huddersfield could come out in the second half and have a go at only 1-0 because - and this is the crucial bit - the decision was correct. It doesn't matter how many millimetres Mata's knee was offside by, or how stupid that bit of the rule is, he was offside as defined by the laws of the game. Imagine Huddersfield had been able to pull this one back to 2-1. You couldn't blame the VAR for United losing because the decision was correct. It's annoying because it's marginal and seemed a little confusing, and by Jove do people seem to hate being even slightly confuddled about anything. That's what the issue seems to be to me, people a little afraid of change, others not enjoying the feeling of not having control of something they have always thought they understood and that shift to the norm. It will mean little goals like this are ruled out going forward, huge decisions like Lampard's goal vs Germany will count and incorrect decisions don't impact games. I'd imagine smaller teams will benefit in the long term - plenty of big clubs do seem to get the luck of certain decisions at times. 7:37PM Juan Mata likes VAR but found it confusing "I did! I celebrated but you know apparently the VAR showed it was offside. What do you think? Yeh well I dunno, the important thing is it didn't matter but it's the first time I meet VAR. I'm up for it, I think it's needed especially when it's clear in a decision like red card, penalty, offside. I scored a goal, when I came to the dressing room they told me it wasn't very clear. If the VAR isn't clear what do we do? "I'm still not sure!" 7:26PM FULL TIME A clinical win in a solid Man Utd performance. There was nothing particularly inspiring about this one but Huddersfield played really well and were just undone by the quality and cunning of Lukaku's double. If they can play more like this in the Premier League they should be fine. 7:24PM 90 mins +2 Martial has started shielding the ball in the corner, trying to go past players with little tricks. United step up, Huddersfield win the ball back but can't do anything with it. Eric Bailly comes on for the final few seconds, replacing Lukaku. 7:21PM 90 mins Huddersfield keep working the right wing, finding space in behind Martial's half-hearted defensive efforts and Luke Shaw being pulled out of position. Another cross from wide is met in the middle by Mounie, who tries a bicycle kick but shoots harmlessly wide. 7:19PM 87 mins Billing hasn't given up yet though and does some more of his short passing one-two style around the edge of the area. Again, United soak up the pressure and clear their lines. It's so difficult to break Mourinho teams down. Matic looks for Martial with a lovely long pass down the channel. He sprints away, pulls the ball across the area but puts it between Lingard and Lukaku. Neither can get on the end. 7:17PM 85 mins Sabiri heads it from six yards with his first touch but gets underneath the cross and shoots over! That was a decent chance! 7:16PM 84 mins And that should be Lukaku's hat-trick. Lingard gets his aim wrong and passes behind the striker when the chance to tap into an empty net looks on. Huddersfield get forward and win another corner. Sabiri comes on for Van La Parra. 7:14PM 82 mins Lingard on for Mata. It feels like this game is done. Huddersfield don't seem to have enough left in them to turn it around and United are sat deep, taking their time and happy to slow everything down. 7:12PM 80 mins Lukaku has been superb tonight. As I type that he is rather too easily tackled by Schindler but other than that he's been excellent. Martial gets on the ball but can't go past his man, Mounie comes away down the right but doesn't have the support he needs and Malone passes straight to McTominay, who wins a free-kick. 7:08PM 77 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES Hmmm. Sanchez is taken off for Martial. He's not been at his best today but that is presumably to save him for future matches. He does tend to run around a lot. 7:07PM 75 mins Billing picks up the ball on the edge of the area, shapes to shoot on his left but it's a cunning ruse! He cuts onto his right and shoots from a narrow angle but Romero gets behind it and blocks well. United are on the break! Sanchez has men over and looks for Mata at the back post but places it too close to the goalkeeper. 7:05PM 73 mins Great play by United. A few passes forward and Young is put into space on the right, fires a pass low to Lukaku at the edge of the box and he has a chance for a hat-trick, takes too long to shoot, puts the ball on his right foot... and is blocked. 7:02PM 70 mins Malone and Smith come on for Kongolo and Hadergjonaj. Two full-backs swapped - is that to keep them fresh for other games? Or is Wagner trying to find a way back into this one with some energy in wide areas? Ince tries to work himself a little bit of space in the D but his shot is blocked. 7:01PM 68 mins Man Utd happy to sit at half way and invite pressure before launching counter-attacks. 6:58PM 65 mins Credit: REUTERS Matic, Carrick and McTominay have been excellent in the centre of the pitch today. Sanchez keeps moving inside the pitch to get involved, leaving United's left wing empty. 6:55PM 63 mins What a ball. Unbelievable execution from Sanchez, who ignores Shaw's overlapping run and punts what seems like a wild hit forwards but which turns into an inch perfect pass for Lukaku. Lukaku plays Mata in on the overlap, he goes around the outside of his man but his pass to the six yard box is dived on by the goalkeeper. 6:52PM 60 mins Young is put under pressure and accidentally puts a back pass straight out for a corner. Romero punches that one away, Sanchez sends Young away and United have men over again! Could this be a third? Huddersfield do really well to shut down the move before the ball is too close to the box. 6:49PM GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLL! Lukaku goal 2 Absolutely ruthless from Lukaku. United break at rapid speed, Lukaku leads the charge and runs onto a return pass from Sanchez - perfectly weighted and placed. Lukaku does all the hard work, speeds away from the last man, keeps his composure and finishes low past the goalkeeper. It's a smash and grab goal. 6:47PM 54 mins Huddersfield win another free-kick on the edge of the area as Sanchez clumsily brings down Williams. Again the wall does its job. And United are on the break! 6:44PM 53 mins Ince takes it on his left foot, hits the wall and there's a little scramble in the box. La Parra swings at thin air, Mata puts a high foot up. Smalling puts in a strong, perfectly timed challenge to kill the attack. Shaw is bumped into by La Parra... and Man Utd have a goal kick. 6:43PM 51 mins Huddersfield are at it in this half. They win a free-kick on the edge of the area, which suits a left footer. Tom Ince stands over the ball, Billing stands in front to block the view. Shaw and Sanchez are way forward of the 10 yard referee line and he has to come over to tell them to wise up. 6:40PM 48 mins Great ball towards Hadergjonaj from deep! The full-back has a race with Shaw to get to a through-pass towards the United penalty area but loses. Lukaku wins a free-kick wide right about 30 yards out. 6:38PM KICK OFF 2 We're back! 6:37PM Romelu Lukaku scared of lip readers Top secret information from Lukaku to his boss. I dislike this growing trend for footballers to hide their words from the cameras. 6:30PM Actual VAR lines Aaaaaand apparently the VAR did have access to straight lines and wasn't looking at the bendy lines one. And if this is the view they've seen, how is it offside? How is that offside? It's mental. 6:25PM Let's recap Mata scored a perfectly good goal, the VAR reviewed the decision and ruled it out because of some very bendy lines. Above is BT Sport's graphic, below is the VAR: Are the lines bent because it's catering for the camera angle? I'm stumped and really can't work it out. Just to add, I love VAR but when you get someone freehand drawing lines on a screen to work out if someone is offside or not... what the hell even is this? 6:21PM HALF TIME Well well well. It looks like we're going to need VAR for the VAR! To be fair, at least the officials have had the chance to look at the evidence and make an informed decision but that seems extraordinarily harsh on Mata. 6:21PM GOOOOOOO oh no it's offside too United have the ball in the back of the net again but this time the offside call is much easier. 6:20PM 45 mins +3 Umm. Who's been drawing these lines? 6:18PM NO GOOOOOAAAAALLLL Controversial scenes here! The VAR has reviewed the decision and think that Mata's knee is offside! That's amazing. It's still 1-0! 6:18PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLL!!!! Mata goal Ashley Young is superb on the right wing, skips past two challenges and puts a brilliant ball into the area for Mata. He must be offside! He must be! Mata goes around the goalkeeper and slots in. 6:14PM 42 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES Look who it is! Fergie and David Gill have come to watch their favourite team. At the moment they're watching them defend a corner... which Romero punches clear. Kongolo fouls Smalling and United take their time over the free-kick. 6:12PM 41 mins Billing's having a decent game in the Huddersfield midfield and always seems to be involved when they have the ball. Wagner's side have a lost a bit of their zip and the tempo has slowed in the last 10 minutes or so, United crushing the game and making things a little less fluid. Lukaku finds Sanchez with an absolutely brilliant switched pass but Sanchez's cross is headed away. 6:09PM 38 mins Mounie goes down after a battle in the air with Smalling but it's more a problem with his ankle than his head. 6:07PM 35 mins Billing tries an effort from long range, saved by Romero. Lukaku tries one on his right-footed from outside the area and is blocked. 6:03PM 33 mins Credit: PA Tom Ince has just seen the video for "Just" by Radiohead. 6:02PM 32 mins Shaw's clearance isn't very good and Huddersfield are able keep the pressure up and win a corner. Smalling and Lindelof both attack it and head the ball behind between them - that's poor communication from the centre-backs and they're pretty fortunate not to have clashed heads. 6:00PM 30 mins Danny Williams has players right and left to pass to but the pitch opens up and he decides to shoot from all of 30 yards. Romero saves easily. 5:58PM 27 mins United win a corner. Sanchez hooks it into the box, Matic has space but can't control properly... the chance goes and then Lukaku is caught offside as a long ball is aimed onto Smalling's head to knock on. Mata angrily waves at his teammates to suggest they're not doing what they're supposed to be. Sanchez looks a little lost in this United team for me. He doesn't seem sure when or who to press, or even where he's really playing. 5:54PM 24 mins Lukaku defends at left-back... I'm not sure why it's really happened. Moments later Huddersfield attack down the right again - they're focusing all their attacks down that channel - and a teasing ball around the centre-backs almost provides a chance for Tom Ince to score. He slides in but can't quite get enough on the shot. Goal kick. Luke Shaw is being done in down the left wing, he needs Alexis Sanchez to do some tracking back. 5:52PM 21 mins Lukaku finds Sanchez with a clever through-pass but the Chilean can't do much with it and is offside anyway. United have calmed the Huddersfield storm. McTominay changes La Parra but is a little too eager to tackle him and gives away a free-kick. 5:49PM 19 mins Credit: REUTERS Ashley Young gets forward and from just in front of the box looks to find Lukaku with an early, bending pass. It's deflected behind for a corner, Mata swings it in and Smalling has the chance to get a shot in from 12 yards! He swings at it but is blocked, Huddersfield head away. Sanchez gives a poor pass straight to a Huddersfield player. 5:47PM 16 mins Mourinho is up on the touchline yelling instructions at his players, urging them to push up the pitch quickly to stop the Huddersfield onslaught of attacks. 5:46PM 15 mins I love that Graham Poll sounds a lot like Tim Key, so that whenever he turns up to do some voiceover analysis on referee decisions, it's like Sidekick Simon from Alan Partridge is weighing in. Huddersfield really taking the game to Man Utd here and have them trapped on the back foot. Romero has to save a long range effort. This suits Mourinho's counter-attack style but at the moment, they're in danger of being overrun by blue and white shirts. 5:43PM 12 mins Sanchez is taking up really central positions for United, playing alongside Lukaku while in possession. The away fans are singing "ooh aaah Eric Cantona" - presumably he's there somewhere. 5:41PM 10 mins Huddersfield have started really well here (apart from conceding) and are going at Man Utd. They're pressing high, playing quick forward passes and have won another corner. That's slightly cheeky (the ball isn't in the corner circle) and if Huddersfield score from it, will have the goal disallowed. VAR is a strange creature. That corner is dealt with after a bit of a penalty box scramble. This game is alive! 5:39PM 7 mins PENALTY! That should be a penalty shouldn't it? Graham Poll says Chris Smalling's hand pinging the ball away at face height from a corner doesn't qualify as a penalty. Huddersfield keep the pressure up. IIINCE! That's so close from Ince! He might be offside but is able to turn inside the area and pulls the ball across the box, just unable to get it on target or provide a tap in to a teammate. 5:36PM GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLL! Lukaku goal This is absolutely brilliant striker play by Lukaku. Mata finds him with a superb through ball, he turns his man, sprints on the counter-attack all the way to the box and then bounces the defender off him easily, cuts onto his right foot and finishes coolly past Lossl. That's the Lukaku we like to see! 5:33PM 2 mins United pressing high from the start but Huddersfield do well to bypass it and Quaner takes on Shaw, never looks up and then drags a shot way wide of goal from the corner of the box. That was ever so slightly ambitious. 5:32PM KICK OFF Here we go! 5:24PM Mourinho's happy selfie face Credit: GETTY IMAGES 5:19PM David Wagner says "It was me. We said after the defeat at Old Trafford, OK come on boys. Now we have to show we are capable, the players have done it, played very good football, been solid defensively and strong offensively. We are happy and glad to host United in the FA Cup. "I think we've seen you have to make everything right and be on your best to be a competitor, we are excited today. This is a present for our supporters who follow us all season and we will try our best to come through it." 5:06PM Jose Mourinho pre-match comments "I think it's a beautiful moment for the players (Gomes and Hamilton), even if they don't play. Gomes did play for us a couple of times in the Premier League and Hamilton is the first time on the bench, I think it's beautiful for them. On the bench I have four senior players ready to play without question mark, and the fact they play yesterday for the under-23s doesn't mean I'm not going to play them. "In here we have a couple of mistakes and we pay for that. At our house we have a very organised wall, very compact, but we play well and when we scored we kept control. Today they're in their natural habitat and they'll want to try to be a giant killer and to arrive at Wembley, which is a dream for everyone." 4:55PM Huddersfield team TEAM NEWS with @ViessmannUK: Head Coach David Wagner has made 4⃣ changes to his starting line-up for #htafc's @EmiratesFACup match vs @ManUtd. ➡️ @KongoloTerence, @BillingPhilip, Danny Williams & @CollinQuaner ⬅️ @ScottyMalone28, Jonathan Hogg, @AaronMooy & @pritch_93 (AT) pic.twitter.com/R1F1RLRRFs— Huddersfield Town (@htafcdotcom) February 17, 2018 4:49PM Pogba's been on the internet Gutted I won’t be at Huddersfield but I need to get better. Come on United ���� @ManUtd— Paul Pogba (@paulpogba) February 17, 2018 4:45PM Jose Mourinho on Paul Pogba's absence When did you find out? "This morning, I was told by the doctor. No honestly I don't care, I focus on the game, just the game. I know Paul cannot play, I will think about Paul after the match." 4:36PM Jose Mourinho film poster Credit: GETTY IMAGES Jose Mourinho's been busy posing for his new film. Imagine explosions in the background and it's pretty nailed on. Could also be an album cover. 4:25PM Pre-game photos Credit: GETTY IMAGES Credit: REUTERS 4:22PM Man Utd starting lineup Six changes for Man Utd. No Pogba, De Gea, Jones, Lingard, Valencia and Martial all rested/dropped. Six changes for #MUFC - here's today's line-up! #FACuppic.twitter.com/JN9IyctMO3— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 17, 2018 Romero, Young, Lindelof, Smalling, Shaw, Matic, Carrick, McTominay, Mata, Lukaku, Sanchez. �� A first appearance on the #MUFC bench for Ethan Hamilton... pic.twitter.com/Qj8XcDOjpN— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 17, 2018 There's also a spot on the bench for highly rated (and really young) attacking midfielder Angel Gomes. 3:43PM Hello! Good (late) afternoon to you, my football friends. Welcome to our liveblog for Huddersfield vs Manchester United in the FA Cup, a game Paul Pogba will miss through illness. Hmmm. It'll be very interesting to see what team Jose Mourinho names for this. The FA Cup is probably his best chance of a trophy for the rest of the season, what with the Champions League being rather hard to win and all that, but Man Utd come into this on the back of some indifferent form. Credit: GETTY IMAGES Newcastle were able to secure a 1-0 win defending 'with their lives' in United's last game, and next is Sevilla, which will surely mean Mourinho rests a few key players. Lindelof, Shaw, Carrick and Rojo could all find themselves in the starting XI and Eric Bailly is very close to a first team return. Due to United's form, David Wagner might be inclined to play a full strength Huddersfield side and take advantage of low confidence, though Aaron Mooy and Laurent Depoitre are likely to be rested, with both doubts for this game. Team news should be in at 4:30pm.
Huddersfield 0 Man Utd 2: VAR controversy as Romelu Lukaku sends United into quarter final
Video technology was supposed to help reduce controversial decisions in football but it served only to add to the confusion on a night when Manchester United’s progression to the FA Cup quarter-finals felt secondary to the debate stirred by the dodgy interpretation of a system that could take a while to catch on. Romelu Lukaku converted United’s only two shots on target to banish Huddersfield Town in a game in which Jose Mourinho’s side looked very ordinary for long periods but by the end the talk centred less on the victory, a last eight pairing with Brighton or Paul Pogba’s absence with a mysterious illness than the controversial Video Assistant Referee (VAR). On the cusp of half-time, Ashley Young wriggled free down the right, nipped past a non-existent challenge from Terence Kongolo and crossed for Juan Mata, who showed composure to dance round Jonas Lossl, the Huddersfield goalkeeper. The linesman’s flag stayed down, but as United’s players wheeled away in celebration, referee Kevin Friend called for VAR. And so for a couple of minutes the John Smith’s Stadium went quiet as players and supporters from both camps awaited a decision and Mourinho, Daivd Wagner, his Huddersfield counterpart, and fourth official Anthony Taylor muttered to each other in the technical area. In the meantime, television replays appeared to show Mata was marginally onside when Young crossed. But then word eventually came through from the Neil Swarbrick, the VAR in his studio in London 200 miles away, that Mata was offside and Friend disallowed the goal. And this is where the confusion really started. BT Sport offside lines Credit: BT SPORT According to Mike Riley, general manager of PGMOL, the referees’ governing body, VAR should only be used to overturn a “clear and obvious” error and, as Mourinho was keen to stress, there was nothing clear and obvious about this incident. Was Mata’s left knee cap offside? Yes, probably a fraction. But it did not help either that the lines Swarbrick was using to determine the decision were wonkier than those drawn by a toddler. Mata certainly looked hard done by on the contrasting images circulated by BT Sport. But the underlying point was even if Swarbrick was right, he had misinterpreted the protocol and, in the process, opened up a whole can of worms. “We have VAR in Portugal and the Portuguese league is the league I follow when I am at home and have nothing to do and I am familiar with amazing results of the VAR and problems and frustrations,” Mourinho said. “It is amazing when the truth comes but also problems like what happened today which goes against the words of the protocol. The words of the protocol are something like a ‘clear and obvious’ situation and for sure this is not a clear and obvious situation but we know it is experimental and we have to accept it but I am speaking after a 2-0 victory. “At half time I had to say 20 times to my analysts to shut up because I don’t want the players to know what happened. I want the players to think it is offside and to move on. But one day it will go in our favour.” Lukaku celebrates his second goal Credit: REUTERS Suffice to say, Mourinho might have been far less impressed had the decision proved costly to United but then even Wagner was unhappy with what he saw. “I said immediately to Jose that whatever will now be decided, whether it goes in our favour or not, I don’t like it,” the Huddersfield manager said. “It killed emotions in stands and for us managers in dug out. "This is why I don’t like this system, and when I hear even with this system it was very difficult and tight to decide if it was right, this makes no sense to me.” The one thing the confusion over VAR did do was deflect some attention away from a turgid first period from United. They were much improved after the interval, when a second goal for Lukaku calmed nerves and Huddersfield’s hopes of a comeback wilted after a spirited reaction to the Belgian’s third minute finish, but this was not a performance that will give Sevilla much cause for concern ahead of the first leg of their Champions League Round of 16 tie next Wednesday. Gutted I won’t be at Huddersfield but I need to get better. Come on United ���� @ManUtd— Paul Pogba (@paulpogba) February 17, 2018 Eric Bailly, a late substitute here after 3½ months out with an ankle injury, should feature against the Spaniards but whether Pogba returns is less clear. United had taken the unusual step of issuing a statement before kick-off to explain Pogba was missing through illness but Mourinho claimed afterwards he did not know what the exact problem was, although he insisted somewhat pointedly that he had planned to start the Frenchman on the left of a midfield three. “When I was told by the doctor this morning that he was not coming, I don’t want to know anything else about it,” Mourinho said. “I have to think who is going to replace him. Now is the time to think about Paul, to know what happened, why he didn’t feel good enough to play, can he play or be available to help us on Wednesday. Now we eat something in the bus and wait for information.” Managers David Wager and Jose Mourinho on the touchline Credit: Getty images Coming in a week when Mourinho felt compelled to refute claims Pogba was having second thoughts over his decision to join United amid apparent frustration at his role, it was inevitable his absence would set tongues wagging. But United’s first half struggles, with the midfield sat too deep and inviting Huddersfield to attack, underlined how much better this team are with Pogba in it. That said, Lukaku took both of his goals clinically at the start of both halves while Huddersfield blew their best two chances, Thomas Ince failing to turn in a low cross and Rajiv Van la Parra shanking a volley wide. Released by Juan Mata for the first, Lukaku cut inside Christopher Schindler with ease before firing low into the bottom corner and he not only finished but started the second. Finding Sanchez before carrying on his run, the Chilean’s return pass to Lukaku was sublime, splitting Huddersfield’s defence, and the the Belgian demonstrated a cool head to run across Danny Williams and slot home. 7:51PM Mourinho on VAR "I keep saying that it should be a referee's decision and not our decision. Why? Because the referees want to perform well and they're not happy to make mistakes, and if they have the VAR to help them make the decision, I think the referees would be happy with that. "But if the VAR change their decisions from good decisions to bad decisions (laughs) it's a bit frustrating. He's touching (his ear) and I think something is going to happen. I dunno what to say, it was a beautiful action. "After the Premier League I follow the Portuguese one and we have it there, amazing things that put the true in the result. BUt I also saw some controversial decisions that bring the VAR into a doubtful situation. I'm happy with the decision, it's like the technology on the goal line. I don't want to score if the ball doesn't cross the line, I'm happy with the true." 7:48PM Oh this VAR chat is doing my head in They got the decision right, it seemed a bit confusing, some wrong graphic did the rounds somewhere. "That could have cost Manchester United a place in the quarter final" says Jake Humphrey. But it was the right decision! If it had been allowed to stand by the referee and linesman then United were 2-0 up and Huddersfield were pretty much done. As it was, Huddersfield could come out in the second half and have a go at only 1-0 because - and this is the crucial bit - the decision was correct. It doesn't matter how many millimetres Mata's knee was offside by, or how stupid that bit of the rule is, he was offside as defined by the laws of the game. Imagine Huddersfield had been able to pull this one back to 2-1. You couldn't blame the VAR for United losing because the decision was correct. It's annoying because it's marginal and seemed a little confusing, and by Jove do people seem to hate being even slightly confuddled about anything. That's what the issue seems to be to me, people a little afraid of change, others not enjoying the feeling of not having control of something they have always thought they understood and that shift to the norm. It will mean little goals like this are ruled out going forward, huge decisions like Lampard's goal vs Germany will count and incorrect decisions don't impact games. I'd imagine smaller teams will benefit in the long term - plenty of big clubs do seem to get the luck of certain decisions at times. 7:37PM Juan Mata likes VAR but found it confusing "I did! I celebrated but you know apparently the VAR showed it was offside. What do you think? Yeh well I dunno, the important thing is it didn't matter but it's the first time I meet VAR. I'm up for it, I think it's needed especially when it's clear in a decision like red card, penalty, offside. I scored a goal, when I came to the dressing room they told me it wasn't very clear. If the VAR isn't clear what do we do? "I'm still not sure!" 7:26PM FULL TIME A clinical win in a solid Man Utd performance. There was nothing particularly inspiring about this one but Huddersfield played really well and were just undone by the quality and cunning of Lukaku's double. If they can play more like this in the Premier League they should be fine. 7:24PM 90 mins +2 Martial has started shielding the ball in the corner, trying to go past players with little tricks. United step up, Huddersfield win the ball back but can't do anything with it. Eric Bailly comes on for the final few seconds, replacing Lukaku. 7:21PM 90 mins Huddersfield keep working the right wing, finding space in behind Martial's half-hearted defensive efforts and Luke Shaw being pulled out of position. Another cross from wide is met in the middle by Mounie, who tries a bicycle kick but shoots harmlessly wide. 7:19PM 87 mins Billing hasn't given up yet though and does some more of his short passing one-two style around the edge of the area. Again, United soak up the pressure and clear their lines. It's so difficult to break Mourinho teams down. Matic looks for Martial with a lovely long pass down the channel. He sprints away, pulls the ball across the area but puts it between Lingard and Lukaku. Neither can get on the end. 7:17PM 85 mins Sabiri heads it from six yards with his first touch but gets underneath the cross and shoots over! That was a decent chance! 7:16PM 84 mins And that should be Lukaku's hat-trick. Lingard gets his aim wrong and passes behind the striker when the chance to tap into an empty net looks on. Huddersfield get forward and win another corner. Sabiri comes on for Van La Parra. 7:14PM 82 mins Lingard on for Mata. It feels like this game is done. Huddersfield don't seem to have enough left in them to turn it around and United are sat deep, taking their time and happy to slow everything down. 7:12PM 80 mins Lukaku has been superb tonight. As I type that he is rather too easily tackled by Schindler but other than that he's been excellent. Martial gets on the ball but can't go past his man, Mounie comes away down the right but doesn't have the support he needs and Malone passes straight to McTominay, who wins a free-kick. 7:08PM 77 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES Hmmm. Sanchez is taken off for Martial. He's not been at his best today but that is presumably to save him for future matches. He does tend to run around a lot. 7:07PM 75 mins Billing picks up the ball on the edge of the area, shapes to shoot on his left but it's a cunning ruse! He cuts onto his right and shoots from a narrow angle but Romero gets behind it and blocks well. United are on the break! Sanchez has men over and looks for Mata at the back post but places it too close to the goalkeeper. 7:05PM 73 mins Great play by United. A few passes forward and Young is put into space on the right, fires a pass low to Lukaku at the edge of the box and he has a chance for a hat-trick, takes too long to shoot, puts the ball on his right foot... and is blocked. 7:02PM 70 mins Malone and Smith come on for Kongolo and Hadergjonaj. Two full-backs swapped - is that to keep them fresh for other games? Or is Wagner trying to find a way back into this one with some energy in wide areas? Ince tries to work himself a little bit of space in the D but his shot is blocked. 7:01PM 68 mins Man Utd happy to sit at half way and invite pressure before launching counter-attacks. 6:58PM 65 mins Credit: REUTERS Matic, Carrick and McTominay have been excellent in the centre of the pitch today. Sanchez keeps moving inside the pitch to get involved, leaving United's left wing empty. 6:55PM 63 mins What a ball. Unbelievable execution from Sanchez, who ignores Shaw's overlapping run and punts what seems like a wild hit forwards but which turns into an inch perfect pass for Lukaku. Lukaku plays Mata in on the overlap, he goes around the outside of his man but his pass to the six yard box is dived on by the goalkeeper. 6:52PM 60 mins Young is put under pressure and accidentally puts a back pass straight out for a corner. Romero punches that one away, Sanchez sends Young away and United have men over again! Could this be a third? Huddersfield do really well to shut down the move before the ball is too close to the box. 6:49PM GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLL! Lukaku goal 2 Absolutely ruthless from Lukaku. United break at rapid speed, Lukaku leads the charge and runs onto a return pass from Sanchez - perfectly weighted and placed. Lukaku does all the hard work, speeds away from the last man, keeps his composure and finishes low past the goalkeeper. It's a smash and grab goal. 6:47PM 54 mins Huddersfield win another free-kick on the edge of the area as Sanchez clumsily brings down Williams. Again the wall does its job. And United are on the break! 6:44PM 53 mins Ince takes it on his left foot, hits the wall and there's a little scramble in the box. La Parra swings at thin air, Mata puts a high foot up. Smalling puts in a strong, perfectly timed challenge to kill the attack. Shaw is bumped into by La Parra... and Man Utd have a goal kick. 6:43PM 51 mins Huddersfield are at it in this half. They win a free-kick on the edge of the area, which suits a left footer. Tom Ince stands over the ball, Billing stands in front to block the view. Shaw and Sanchez are way forward of the 10 yard referee line and he has to come over to tell them to wise up. 6:40PM 48 mins Great ball towards Hadergjonaj from deep! The full-back has a race with Shaw to get to a through-pass towards the United penalty area but loses. Lukaku wins a free-kick wide right about 30 yards out. 6:38PM KICK OFF 2 We're back! 6:37PM Romelu Lukaku scared of lip readers Top secret information from Lukaku to his boss. I dislike this growing trend for footballers to hide their words from the cameras. 6:30PM Actual VAR lines Aaaaaand apparently the VAR did have access to straight lines and wasn't looking at the bendy lines one. And if this is the view they've seen, how is it offside? How is that offside? It's mental. 6:25PM Let's recap Mata scored a perfectly good goal, the VAR reviewed the decision and ruled it out because of some very bendy lines. Above is BT Sport's graphic, below is the VAR: Are the lines bent because it's catering for the camera angle? I'm stumped and really can't work it out. Just to add, I love VAR but when you get someone freehand drawing lines on a screen to work out if someone is offside or not... what the hell even is this? 6:21PM HALF TIME Well well well. It looks like we're going to need VAR for the VAR! To be fair, at least the officials have had the chance to look at the evidence and make an informed decision but that seems extraordinarily harsh on Mata. 6:21PM GOOOOOOO oh no it's offside too United have the ball in the back of the net again but this time the offside call is much easier. 6:20PM 45 mins +3 Umm. Who's been drawing these lines? 6:18PM NO GOOOOOAAAAALLLL Controversial scenes here! The VAR has reviewed the decision and think that Mata's knee is offside! That's amazing. It's still 1-0! 6:18PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLL!!!! Mata goal Ashley Young is superb on the right wing, skips past two challenges and puts a brilliant ball into the area for Mata. He must be offside! He must be! Mata goes around the goalkeeper and slots in. 6:14PM 42 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES Look who it is! Fergie and David Gill have come to watch their favourite team. At the moment they're watching them defend a corner... which Romero punches clear. Kongolo fouls Smalling and United take their time over the free-kick. 6:12PM 41 mins Billing's having a decent game in the Huddersfield midfield and always seems to be involved when they have the ball. Wagner's side have a lost a bit of their zip and the tempo has slowed in the last 10 minutes or so, United crushing the game and making things a little less fluid. Lukaku finds Sanchez with an absolutely brilliant switched pass but Sanchez's cross is headed away. 6:09PM 38 mins Mounie goes down after a battle in the air with Smalling but it's more a problem with his ankle than his head. 6:07PM 35 mins Billing tries an effort from long range, saved by Romero. Lukaku tries one on his right-footed from outside the area and is blocked. 6:03PM 33 mins Credit: PA Tom Ince has just seen the video for "Just" by Radiohead. 6:02PM 32 mins Shaw's clearance isn't very good and Huddersfield are able keep the pressure up and win a corner. Smalling and Lindelof both attack it and head the ball behind between them - that's poor communication from the centre-backs and they're pretty fortunate not to have clashed heads. 6:00PM 30 mins Danny Williams has players right and left to pass to but the pitch opens up and he decides to shoot from all of 30 yards. Romero saves easily. 5:58PM 27 mins United win a corner. Sanchez hooks it into the box, Matic has space but can't control properly... the chance goes and then Lukaku is caught offside as a long ball is aimed onto Smalling's head to knock on. Mata angrily waves at his teammates to suggest they're not doing what they're supposed to be. Sanchez looks a little lost in this United team for me. He doesn't seem sure when or who to press, or even where he's really playing. 5:54PM 24 mins Lukaku defends at left-back... I'm not sure why it's really happened. Moments later Huddersfield attack down the right again - they're focusing all their attacks down that channel - and a teasing ball around the centre-backs almost provides a chance for Tom Ince to score. He slides in but can't quite get enough on the shot. Goal kick. Luke Shaw is being done in down the left wing, he needs Alexis Sanchez to do some tracking back. 5:52PM 21 mins Lukaku finds Sanchez with a clever through-pass but the Chilean can't do much with it and is offside anyway. United have calmed the Huddersfield storm. McTominay changes La Parra but is a little too eager to tackle him and gives away a free-kick. 5:49PM 19 mins Credit: REUTERS Ashley Young gets forward and from just in front of the box looks to find Lukaku with an early, bending pass. It's deflected behind for a corner, Mata swings it in and Smalling has the chance to get a shot in from 12 yards! He swings at it but is blocked, Huddersfield head away. Sanchez gives a poor pass straight to a Huddersfield player. 5:47PM 16 mins Mourinho is up on the touchline yelling instructions at his players, urging them to push up the pitch quickly to stop the Huddersfield onslaught of attacks. 5:46PM 15 mins I love that Graham Poll sounds a lot like Tim Key, so that whenever he turns up to do some voiceover analysis on referee decisions, it's like Sidekick Simon from Alan Partridge is weighing in. Huddersfield really taking the game to Man Utd here and have them trapped on the back foot. Romero has to save a long range effort. This suits Mourinho's counter-attack style but at the moment, they're in danger of being overrun by blue and white shirts. 5:43PM 12 mins Sanchez is taking up really central positions for United, playing alongside Lukaku while in possession. The away fans are singing "ooh aaah Eric Cantona" - presumably he's there somewhere. 5:41PM 10 mins Huddersfield have started really well here (apart from conceding) and are going at Man Utd. They're pressing high, playing quick forward passes and have won another corner. That's slightly cheeky (the ball isn't in the corner circle) and if Huddersfield score from it, will have the goal disallowed. VAR is a strange creature. That corner is dealt with after a bit of a penalty box scramble. This game is alive! 5:39PM 7 mins PENALTY! That should be a penalty shouldn't it? Graham Poll says Chris Smalling's hand pinging the ball away at face height from a corner doesn't qualify as a penalty. Huddersfield keep the pressure up. IIINCE! That's so close from Ince! He might be offside but is able to turn inside the area and pulls the ball across the box, just unable to get it on target or provide a tap in to a teammate. 5:36PM GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLL! Lukaku goal This is absolutely brilliant striker play by Lukaku. Mata finds him with a superb through ball, he turns his man, sprints on the counter-attack all the way to the box and then bounces the defender off him easily, cuts onto his right foot and finishes coolly past Lossl. That's the Lukaku we like to see! 5:33PM 2 mins United pressing high from the start but Huddersfield do well to bypass it and Quaner takes on Shaw, never looks up and then drags a shot way wide of goal from the corner of the box. That was ever so slightly ambitious. 5:32PM KICK OFF Here we go! 5:24PM Mourinho's happy selfie face Credit: GETTY IMAGES 5:19PM David Wagner says "It was me. We said after the defeat at Old Trafford, OK come on boys. Now we have to show we are capable, the players have done it, played very good football, been solid defensively and strong offensively. We are happy and glad to host United in the FA Cup. "I think we've seen you have to make everything right and be on your best to be a competitor, we are excited today. This is a present for our supporters who follow us all season and we will try our best to come through it." 5:06PM Jose Mourinho pre-match comments "I think it's a beautiful moment for the players (Gomes and Hamilton), even if they don't play. Gomes did play for us a couple of times in the Premier League and Hamilton is the first time on the bench, I think it's beautiful for them. On the bench I have four senior players ready to play without question mark, and the fact they play yesterday for the under-23s doesn't mean I'm not going to play them. "In here we have a couple of mistakes and we pay for that. At our house we have a very organised wall, very compact, but we play well and when we scored we kept control. Today they're in their natural habitat and they'll want to try to be a giant killer and to arrive at Wembley, which is a dream for everyone." 4:55PM Huddersfield team TEAM NEWS with @ViessmannUK: Head Coach David Wagner has made 4⃣ changes to his starting line-up for #htafc's @EmiratesFACup match vs @ManUtd. ➡️ @KongoloTerence, @BillingPhilip, Danny Williams & @CollinQuaner ⬅️ @ScottyMalone28, Jonathan Hogg, @AaronMooy & @pritch_93 (AT) pic.twitter.com/R1F1RLRRFs— Huddersfield Town (@htafcdotcom) February 17, 2018 4:49PM Pogba's been on the internet Gutted I won’t be at Huddersfield but I need to get better. Come on United ���� @ManUtd— Paul Pogba (@paulpogba) February 17, 2018 4:45PM Jose Mourinho on Paul Pogba's absence When did you find out? "This morning, I was told by the doctor. No honestly I don't care, I focus on the game, just the game. I know Paul cannot play, I will think about Paul after the match." 4:36PM Jose Mourinho film poster Credit: GETTY IMAGES Jose Mourinho's been busy posing for his new film. Imagine explosions in the background and it's pretty nailed on. Could also be an album cover. 4:25PM Pre-game photos Credit: GETTY IMAGES Credit: REUTERS 4:22PM Man Utd starting lineup Six changes for Man Utd. No Pogba, De Gea, Jones, Lingard, Valencia and Martial all rested/dropped. Six changes for #MUFC - here's today's line-up! #FACuppic.twitter.com/JN9IyctMO3— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 17, 2018 Romero, Young, Lindelof, Smalling, Shaw, Matic, Carrick, McTominay, Mata, Lukaku, Sanchez. �� A first appearance on the #MUFC bench for Ethan Hamilton... pic.twitter.com/Qj8XcDOjpN— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 17, 2018 There's also a spot on the bench for highly rated (and really young) attacking midfielder Angel Gomes. 3:43PM Hello! Good (late) afternoon to you, my football friends. Welcome to our liveblog for Huddersfield vs Manchester United in the FA Cup, a game Paul Pogba will miss through illness. Hmmm. It'll be very interesting to see what team Jose Mourinho names for this. The FA Cup is probably his best chance of a trophy for the rest of the season, what with the Champions League being rather hard to win and all that, but Man Utd come into this on the back of some indifferent form. Credit: GETTY IMAGES Newcastle were able to secure a 1-0 win defending 'with their lives' in United's last game, and next is Sevilla, which will surely mean Mourinho rests a few key players. Lindelof, Shaw, Carrick and Rojo could all find themselves in the starting XI and Eric Bailly is very close to a first team return. Due to United's form, David Wagner might be inclined to play a full strength Huddersfield side and take advantage of low confidence, though Aaron Mooy and Laurent Depoitre are likely to be rested, with both doubts for this game. Team news should be in at 4:30pm.
Video technology was supposed to help reduce controversial decisions in football but it served only to add to the confusion on a night when Manchester United’s progression to the FA Cup quarter-finals felt secondary to the debate stirred by the dodgy interpretation of a system that could take a while to catch on. Romelu Lukaku converted United’s only two shots on target to banish Huddersfield Town in a game in which Jose Mourinho’s side looked very ordinary for long periods but by the end the talk centred less on the victory, a last eight pairing with Brighton or Paul Pogba’s absence with a mysterious illness than the controversial Video Assistant Referee (VAR). On the cusp of half-time, Ashley Young wriggled free down the right, nipped past a non-existent challenge from Terence Kongolo and crossed for Juan Mata, who showed composure to dance round Jonas Lossl, the Huddersfield goalkeeper. The linesman’s flag stayed down, but as United’s players wheeled away in celebration, referee Kevin Friend called for VAR. And so for a couple of minutes the John Smith’s Stadium went quiet as players and supporters from both camps awaited a decision and Mourinho, Daivd Wagner, his Huddersfield counterpart, and fourth official Anthony Taylor muttered to each other in the technical area. In the meantime, television replays appeared to show Mata was marginally onside when Young crossed. But then word eventually came through from the Neil Swarbrick, the VAR in his studio in London 200 miles away, that Mata was offside and Friend disallowed the goal. And this is where the confusion really started. BT Sport offside lines Credit: BT SPORT According to Mike Riley, general manager of PGMOL, the referees’ governing body, VAR should only be used to overturn a “clear and obvious” error and, as Mourinho was keen to stress, there was nothing clear and obvious about this incident. Was Mata’s left knee cap offside? Yes, probably a fraction. But it did not help either that the lines Swarbrick was using to determine the decision were wonkier than those drawn by a toddler. Mata certainly looked hard done by on the contrasting images circulated by BT Sport. But the underlying point was even if Swarbrick was right, he had misinterpreted the protocol and, in the process, opened up a whole can of worms. “We have VAR in Portugal and the Portuguese league is the league I follow when I am at home and have nothing to do and I am familiar with amazing results of the VAR and problems and frustrations,” Mourinho said. “It is amazing when the truth comes but also problems like what happened today which goes against the words of the protocol. The words of the protocol are something like a ‘clear and obvious’ situation and for sure this is not a clear and obvious situation but we know it is experimental and we have to accept it but I am speaking after a 2-0 victory. “At half time I had to say 20 times to my analysts to shut up because I don’t want the players to know what happened. I want the players to think it is offside and to move on. But one day it will go in our favour.” Lukaku celebrates his second goal Credit: REUTERS Suffice to say, Mourinho might have been far less impressed had the decision proved costly to United but then even Wagner was unhappy with what he saw. “I said immediately to Jose that whatever will now be decided, whether it goes in our favour or not, I don’t like it,” the Huddersfield manager said. “It killed emotions in stands and for us managers in dug out. "This is why I don’t like this system, and when I hear even with this system it was very difficult and tight to decide if it was right, this makes no sense to me.” The one thing the confusion over VAR did do was deflect some attention away from a turgid first period from United. They were much improved after the interval, when a second goal for Lukaku calmed nerves and Huddersfield’s hopes of a comeback wilted after a spirited reaction to the Belgian’s third minute finish, but this was not a performance that will give Sevilla much cause for concern ahead of the first leg of their Champions League Round of 16 tie next Wednesday. Gutted I won’t be at Huddersfield but I need to get better. Come on United ���� @ManUtd— Paul Pogba (@paulpogba) February 17, 2018 Eric Bailly, a late substitute here after 3½ months out with an ankle injury, should feature against the Spaniards but whether Pogba returns is less clear. United had taken the unusual step of issuing a statement before kick-off to explain Pogba was missing through illness but Mourinho claimed afterwards he did not know what the exact problem was, although he insisted somewhat pointedly that he had planned to start the Frenchman on the left of a midfield three. “When I was told by the doctor this morning that he was not coming, I don’t want to know anything else about it,” Mourinho said. “I have to think who is going to replace him. Now is the time to think about Paul, to know what happened, why he didn’t feel good enough to play, can he play or be available to help us on Wednesday. Now we eat something in the bus and wait for information.” Managers David Wager and Jose Mourinho on the touchline Credit: Getty images Coming in a week when Mourinho felt compelled to refute claims Pogba was having second thoughts over his decision to join United amid apparent frustration at his role, it was inevitable his absence would set tongues wagging. But United’s first half struggles, with the midfield sat too deep and inviting Huddersfield to attack, underlined how much better this team are with Pogba in it. That said, Lukaku took both of his goals clinically at the start of both halves while Huddersfield blew their best two chances, Thomas Ince failing to turn in a low cross and Rajiv Van la Parra shanking a volley wide. Released by Juan Mata for the first, Lukaku cut inside Christopher Schindler with ease before firing low into the bottom corner and he not only finished but started the second. Finding Sanchez before carrying on his run, the Chilean’s return pass to Lukaku was sublime, splitting Huddersfield’s defence, and the the Belgian demonstrated a cool head to run across Danny Williams and slot home. 7:51PM Mourinho on VAR "I keep saying that it should be a referee's decision and not our decision. Why? Because the referees want to perform well and they're not happy to make mistakes, and if they have the VAR to help them make the decision, I think the referees would be happy with that. "But if the VAR change their decisions from good decisions to bad decisions (laughs) it's a bit frustrating. He's touching (his ear) and I think something is going to happen. I dunno what to say, it was a beautiful action. "After the Premier League I follow the Portuguese one and we have it there, amazing things that put the true in the result. BUt I also saw some controversial decisions that bring the VAR into a doubtful situation. I'm happy with the decision, it's like the technology on the goal line. I don't want to score if the ball doesn't cross the line, I'm happy with the true." 7:48PM Oh this VAR chat is doing my head in They got the decision right, it seemed a bit confusing, some wrong graphic did the rounds somewhere. "That could have cost Manchester United a place in the quarter final" says Jake Humphrey. But it was the right decision! If it had been allowed to stand by the referee and linesman then United were 2-0 up and Huddersfield were pretty much done. As it was, Huddersfield could come out in the second half and have a go at only 1-0 because - and this is the crucial bit - the decision was correct. It doesn't matter how many millimetres Mata's knee was offside by, or how stupid that bit of the rule is, he was offside as defined by the laws of the game. Imagine Huddersfield had been able to pull this one back to 2-1. You couldn't blame the VAR for United losing because the decision was correct. It's annoying because it's marginal and seemed a little confusing, and by Jove do people seem to hate being even slightly confuddled about anything. That's what the issue seems to be to me, people a little afraid of change, others not enjoying the feeling of not having control of something they have always thought they understood and that shift to the norm. It will mean little goals like this are ruled out going forward, huge decisions like Lampard's goal vs Germany will count and incorrect decisions don't impact games. I'd imagine smaller teams will benefit in the long term - plenty of big clubs do seem to get the luck of certain decisions at times. 7:37PM Juan Mata likes VAR but found it confusing "I did! I celebrated but you know apparently the VAR showed it was offside. What do you think? Yeh well I dunno, the important thing is it didn't matter but it's the first time I meet VAR. I'm up for it, I think it's needed especially when it's clear in a decision like red card, penalty, offside. I scored a goal, when I came to the dressing room they told me it wasn't very clear. If the VAR isn't clear what do we do? "I'm still not sure!" 7:26PM FULL TIME A clinical win in a solid Man Utd performance. There was nothing particularly inspiring about this one but Huddersfield played really well and were just undone by the quality and cunning of Lukaku's double. If they can play more like this in the Premier League they should be fine. 7:24PM 90 mins +2 Martial has started shielding the ball in the corner, trying to go past players with little tricks. United step up, Huddersfield win the ball back but can't do anything with it. Eric Bailly comes on for the final few seconds, replacing Lukaku. 7:21PM 90 mins Huddersfield keep working the right wing, finding space in behind Martial's half-hearted defensive efforts and Luke Shaw being pulled out of position. Another cross from wide is met in the middle by Mounie, who tries a bicycle kick but shoots harmlessly wide. 7:19PM 87 mins Billing hasn't given up yet though and does some more of his short passing one-two style around the edge of the area. Again, United soak up the pressure and clear their lines. It's so difficult to break Mourinho teams down. Matic looks for Martial with a lovely long pass down the channel. He sprints away, pulls the ball across the area but puts it between Lingard and Lukaku. Neither can get on the end. 7:17PM 85 mins Sabiri heads it from six yards with his first touch but gets underneath the cross and shoots over! That was a decent chance! 7:16PM 84 mins And that should be Lukaku's hat-trick. Lingard gets his aim wrong and passes behind the striker when the chance to tap into an empty net looks on. Huddersfield get forward and win another corner. Sabiri comes on for Van La Parra. 7:14PM 82 mins Lingard on for Mata. It feels like this game is done. Huddersfield don't seem to have enough left in them to turn it around and United are sat deep, taking their time and happy to slow everything down. 7:12PM 80 mins Lukaku has been superb tonight. As I type that he is rather too easily tackled by Schindler but other than that he's been excellent. Martial gets on the ball but can't go past his man, Mounie comes away down the right but doesn't have the support he needs and Malone passes straight to McTominay, who wins a free-kick. 7:08PM 77 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES Hmmm. Sanchez is taken off for Martial. He's not been at his best today but that is presumably to save him for future matches. He does tend to run around a lot. 7:07PM 75 mins Billing picks up the ball on the edge of the area, shapes to shoot on his left but it's a cunning ruse! He cuts onto his right and shoots from a narrow angle but Romero gets behind it and blocks well. United are on the break! Sanchez has men over and looks for Mata at the back post but places it too close to the goalkeeper. 7:05PM 73 mins Great play by United. A few passes forward and Young is put into space on the right, fires a pass low to Lukaku at the edge of the box and he has a chance for a hat-trick, takes too long to shoot, puts the ball on his right foot... and is blocked. 7:02PM 70 mins Malone and Smith come on for Kongolo and Hadergjonaj. Two full-backs swapped - is that to keep them fresh for other games? Or is Wagner trying to find a way back into this one with some energy in wide areas? Ince tries to work himself a little bit of space in the D but his shot is blocked. 7:01PM 68 mins Man Utd happy to sit at half way and invite pressure before launching counter-attacks. 6:58PM 65 mins Credit: REUTERS Matic, Carrick and McTominay have been excellent in the centre of the pitch today. Sanchez keeps moving inside the pitch to get involved, leaving United's left wing empty. 6:55PM 63 mins What a ball. Unbelievable execution from Sanchez, who ignores Shaw's overlapping run and punts what seems like a wild hit forwards but which turns into an inch perfect pass for Lukaku. Lukaku plays Mata in on the overlap, he goes around the outside of his man but his pass to the six yard box is dived on by the goalkeeper. 6:52PM 60 mins Young is put under pressure and accidentally puts a back pass straight out for a corner. Romero punches that one away, Sanchez sends Young away and United have men over again! Could this be a third? Huddersfield do really well to shut down the move before the ball is too close to the box. 6:49PM GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLL! Lukaku goal 2 Absolutely ruthless from Lukaku. United break at rapid speed, Lukaku leads the charge and runs onto a return pass from Sanchez - perfectly weighted and placed. Lukaku does all the hard work, speeds away from the last man, keeps his composure and finishes low past the goalkeeper. It's a smash and grab goal. 6:47PM 54 mins Huddersfield win another free-kick on the edge of the area as Sanchez clumsily brings down Williams. Again the wall does its job. And United are on the break! 6:44PM 53 mins Ince takes it on his left foot, hits the wall and there's a little scramble in the box. La Parra swings at thin air, Mata puts a high foot up. Smalling puts in a strong, perfectly timed challenge to kill the attack. Shaw is bumped into by La Parra... and Man Utd have a goal kick. 6:43PM 51 mins Huddersfield are at it in this half. They win a free-kick on the edge of the area, which suits a left footer. Tom Ince stands over the ball, Billing stands in front to block the view. Shaw and Sanchez are way forward of the 10 yard referee line and he has to come over to tell them to wise up. 6:40PM 48 mins Great ball towards Hadergjonaj from deep! The full-back has a race with Shaw to get to a through-pass towards the United penalty area but loses. Lukaku wins a free-kick wide right about 30 yards out. 6:38PM KICK OFF 2 We're back! 6:37PM Romelu Lukaku scared of lip readers Top secret information from Lukaku to his boss. I dislike this growing trend for footballers to hide their words from the cameras. 6:30PM Actual VAR lines Aaaaaand apparently the VAR did have access to straight lines and wasn't looking at the bendy lines one. And if this is the view they've seen, how is it offside? How is that offside? It's mental. 6:25PM Let's recap Mata scored a perfectly good goal, the VAR reviewed the decision and ruled it out because of some very bendy lines. Above is BT Sport's graphic, below is the VAR: Are the lines bent because it's catering for the camera angle? I'm stumped and really can't work it out. Just to add, I love VAR but when you get someone freehand drawing lines on a screen to work out if someone is offside or not... what the hell even is this? 6:21PM HALF TIME Well well well. It looks like we're going to need VAR for the VAR! To be fair, at least the officials have had the chance to look at the evidence and make an informed decision but that seems extraordinarily harsh on Mata. 6:21PM GOOOOOOO oh no it's offside too United have the ball in the back of the net again but this time the offside call is much easier. 6:20PM 45 mins +3 Umm. Who's been drawing these lines? 6:18PM NO GOOOOOAAAAALLLL Controversial scenes here! The VAR has reviewed the decision and think that Mata's knee is offside! That's amazing. It's still 1-0! 6:18PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLL!!!! Mata goal Ashley Young is superb on the right wing, skips past two challenges and puts a brilliant ball into the area for Mata. He must be offside! He must be! Mata goes around the goalkeeper and slots in. 6:14PM 42 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES Look who it is! Fergie and David Gill have come to watch their favourite team. At the moment they're watching them defend a corner... which Romero punches clear. Kongolo fouls Smalling and United take their time over the free-kick. 6:12PM 41 mins Billing's having a decent game in the Huddersfield midfield and always seems to be involved when they have the ball. Wagner's side have a lost a bit of their zip and the tempo has slowed in the last 10 minutes or so, United crushing the game and making things a little less fluid. Lukaku finds Sanchez with an absolutely brilliant switched pass but Sanchez's cross is headed away. 6:09PM 38 mins Mounie goes down after a battle in the air with Smalling but it's more a problem with his ankle than his head. 6:07PM 35 mins Billing tries an effort from long range, saved by Romero. Lukaku tries one on his right-footed from outside the area and is blocked. 6:03PM 33 mins Credit: PA Tom Ince has just seen the video for "Just" by Radiohead. 6:02PM 32 mins Shaw's clearance isn't very good and Huddersfield are able keep the pressure up and win a corner. Smalling and Lindelof both attack it and head the ball behind between them - that's poor communication from the centre-backs and they're pretty fortunate not to have clashed heads. 6:00PM 30 mins Danny Williams has players right and left to pass to but the pitch opens up and he decides to shoot from all of 30 yards. Romero saves easily. 5:58PM 27 mins United win a corner. Sanchez hooks it into the box, Matic has space but can't control properly... the chance goes and then Lukaku is caught offside as a long ball is aimed onto Smalling's head to knock on. Mata angrily waves at his teammates to suggest they're not doing what they're supposed to be. Sanchez looks a little lost in this United team for me. He doesn't seem sure when or who to press, or even where he's really playing. 5:54PM 24 mins Lukaku defends at left-back... I'm not sure why it's really happened. Moments later Huddersfield attack down the right again - they're focusing all their attacks down that channel - and a teasing ball around the centre-backs almost provides a chance for Tom Ince to score. He slides in but can't quite get enough on the shot. Goal kick. Luke Shaw is being done in down the left wing, he needs Alexis Sanchez to do some tracking back. 5:52PM 21 mins Lukaku finds Sanchez with a clever through-pass but the Chilean can't do much with it and is offside anyway. United have calmed the Huddersfield storm. McTominay changes La Parra but is a little too eager to tackle him and gives away a free-kick. 5:49PM 19 mins Credit: REUTERS Ashley Young gets forward and from just in front of the box looks to find Lukaku with an early, bending pass. It's deflected behind for a corner, Mata swings it in and Smalling has the chance to get a shot in from 12 yards! He swings at it but is blocked, Huddersfield head away. Sanchez gives a poor pass straight to a Huddersfield player. 5:47PM 16 mins Mourinho is up on the touchline yelling instructions at his players, urging them to push up the pitch quickly to stop the Huddersfield onslaught of attacks. 5:46PM 15 mins I love that Graham Poll sounds a lot like Tim Key, so that whenever he turns up to do some voiceover analysis on referee decisions, it's like Sidekick Simon from Alan Partridge is weighing in. Huddersfield really taking the game to Man Utd here and have them trapped on the back foot. Romero has to save a long range effort. This suits Mourinho's counter-attack style but at the moment, they're in danger of being overrun by blue and white shirts. 5:43PM 12 mins Sanchez is taking up really central positions for United, playing alongside Lukaku while in possession. The away fans are singing "ooh aaah Eric Cantona" - presumably he's there somewhere. 5:41PM 10 mins Huddersfield have started really well here (apart from conceding) and are going at Man Utd. They're pressing high, playing quick forward passes and have won another corner. That's slightly cheeky (the ball isn't in the corner circle) and if Huddersfield score from it, will have the goal disallowed. VAR is a strange creature. That corner is dealt with after a bit of a penalty box scramble. This game is alive! 5:39PM 7 mins PENALTY! That should be a penalty shouldn't it? Graham Poll says Chris Smalling's hand pinging the ball away at face height from a corner doesn't qualify as a penalty. Huddersfield keep the pressure up. IIINCE! That's so close from Ince! He might be offside but is able to turn inside the area and pulls the ball across the box, just unable to get it on target or provide a tap in to a teammate. 5:36PM GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLL! Lukaku goal This is absolutely brilliant striker play by Lukaku. Mata finds him with a superb through ball, he turns his man, sprints on the counter-attack all the way to the box and then bounces the defender off him easily, cuts onto his right foot and finishes coolly past Lossl. That's the Lukaku we like to see! 5:33PM 2 mins United pressing high from the start but Huddersfield do well to bypass it and Quaner takes on Shaw, never looks up and then drags a shot way wide of goal from the corner of the box. That was ever so slightly ambitious. 5:32PM KICK OFF Here we go! 5:24PM Mourinho's happy selfie face Credit: GETTY IMAGES 5:19PM David Wagner says "It was me. We said after the defeat at Old Trafford, OK come on boys. Now we have to show we are capable, the players have done it, played very good football, been solid defensively and strong offensively. We are happy and glad to host United in the FA Cup. "I think we've seen you have to make everything right and be on your best to be a competitor, we are excited today. This is a present for our supporters who follow us all season and we will try our best to come through it." 5:06PM Jose Mourinho pre-match comments "I think it's a beautiful moment for the players (Gomes and Hamilton), even if they don't play. Gomes did play for us a couple of times in the Premier League and Hamilton is the first time on the bench, I think it's beautiful for them. On the bench I have four senior players ready to play without question mark, and the fact they play yesterday for the under-23s doesn't mean I'm not going to play them. "In here we have a couple of mistakes and we pay for that. At our house we have a very organised wall, very compact, but we play well and when we scored we kept control. Today they're in their natural habitat and they'll want to try to be a giant killer and to arrive at Wembley, which is a dream for everyone." 4:55PM Huddersfield team TEAM NEWS with @ViessmannUK: Head Coach David Wagner has made 4⃣ changes to his starting line-up for #htafc's @EmiratesFACup match vs @ManUtd. ➡️ @KongoloTerence, @BillingPhilip, Danny Williams & @CollinQuaner ⬅️ @ScottyMalone28, Jonathan Hogg, @AaronMooy & @pritch_93 (AT) pic.twitter.com/R1F1RLRRFs— Huddersfield Town (@htafcdotcom) February 17, 2018 4:49PM Pogba's been on the internet Gutted I won’t be at Huddersfield but I need to get better. Come on United ���� @ManUtd— Paul Pogba (@paulpogba) February 17, 2018 4:45PM Jose Mourinho on Paul Pogba's absence When did you find out? "This morning, I was told by the doctor. No honestly I don't care, I focus on the game, just the game. I know Paul cannot play, I will think about Paul after the match." 4:36PM Jose Mourinho film poster Credit: GETTY IMAGES Jose Mourinho's been busy posing for his new film. Imagine explosions in the background and it's pretty nailed on. Could also be an album cover. 4:25PM Pre-game photos Credit: GETTY IMAGES Credit: REUTERS 4:22PM Man Utd starting lineup Six changes for Man Utd. No Pogba, De Gea, Jones, Lingard, Valencia and Martial all rested/dropped. Six changes for #MUFC - here's today's line-up! #FACuppic.twitter.com/JN9IyctMO3— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 17, 2018 Romero, Young, Lindelof, Smalling, Shaw, Matic, Carrick, McTominay, Mata, Lukaku, Sanchez. �� A first appearance on the #MUFC bench for Ethan Hamilton... pic.twitter.com/Qj8XcDOjpN— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 17, 2018 There's also a spot on the bench for highly rated (and really young) attacking midfielder Angel Gomes. 3:43PM Hello! Good (late) afternoon to you, my football friends. Welcome to our liveblog for Huddersfield vs Manchester United in the FA Cup, a game Paul Pogba will miss through illness. Hmmm. It'll be very interesting to see what team Jose Mourinho names for this. The FA Cup is probably his best chance of a trophy for the rest of the season, what with the Champions League being rather hard to win and all that, but Man Utd come into this on the back of some indifferent form. Credit: GETTY IMAGES Newcastle were able to secure a 1-0 win defending 'with their lives' in United's last game, and next is Sevilla, which will surely mean Mourinho rests a few key players. Lindelof, Shaw, Carrick and Rojo could all find themselves in the starting XI and Eric Bailly is very close to a first team return. Due to United's form, David Wagner might be inclined to play a full strength Huddersfield side and take advantage of low confidence, though Aaron Mooy and Laurent Depoitre are likely to be rested, with both doubts for this game. Team news should be in at 4:30pm.
Huddersfield 0 Man Utd 2: VAR controversy as Romelu Lukaku sends United into quarter final
Video technology was supposed to help reduce controversial decisions in football but it served only to add to the confusion on a night when Manchester United’s progression to the FA Cup quarter-finals felt secondary to the debate stirred by the dodgy interpretation of a system that could take a while to catch on. Romelu Lukaku converted United’s only two shots on target to banish Huddersfield Town in a game in which Jose Mourinho’s side looked very ordinary for long periods but by the end the talk centred less on the victory, a last eight pairing with Brighton or Paul Pogba’s absence with a mysterious illness than the controversial Video Assistant Referee (VAR). On the cusp of half-time, Ashley Young wriggled free down the right, nipped past a non-existent challenge from Terence Kongolo and crossed for Juan Mata, who showed composure to dance round Jonas Lossl, the Huddersfield goalkeeper. The linesman’s flag stayed down, but as United’s players wheeled away in celebration, referee Kevin Friend called for VAR. And so for a couple of minutes the John Smith’s Stadium went quiet as players and supporters from both camps awaited a decision and Mourinho, Daivd Wagner, his Huddersfield counterpart, and fourth official Anthony Taylor muttered to each other in the technical area. In the meantime, television replays appeared to show Mata was marginally onside when Young crossed. But then word eventually came through from the Neil Swarbrick, the VAR in his studio in London 200 miles away, that Mata was offside and Friend disallowed the goal. And this is where the confusion really started. BT Sport offside lines Credit: BT SPORT According to Mike Riley, general manager of PGMOL, the referees’ governing body, VAR should only be used to overturn a “clear and obvious” error and, as Mourinho was keen to stress, there was nothing clear and obvious about this incident. Was Mata’s left knee cap offside? Yes, probably a fraction. But it did not help either that the lines Swarbrick was using to determine the decision were wonkier than those drawn by a toddler. Mata certainly looked hard done by on the contrasting images circulated by BT Sport. But the underlying point was even if Swarbrick was right, he had misinterpreted the protocol and, in the process, opened up a whole can of worms. “We have VAR in Portugal and the Portuguese league is the league I follow when I am at home and have nothing to do and I am familiar with amazing results of the VAR and problems and frustrations,” Mourinho said. “It is amazing when the truth comes but also problems like what happened today which goes against the words of the protocol. The words of the protocol are something like a ‘clear and obvious’ situation and for sure this is not a clear and obvious situation but we know it is experimental and we have to accept it but I am speaking after a 2-0 victory. “At half time I had to say 20 times to my analysts to shut up because I don’t want the players to know what happened. I want the players to think it is offside and to move on. But one day it will go in our favour.” Lukaku celebrates his second goal Credit: REUTERS Suffice to say, Mourinho might have been far less impressed had the decision proved costly to United but then even Wagner was unhappy with what he saw. “I said immediately to Jose that whatever will now be decided, whether it goes in our favour or not, I don’t like it,” the Huddersfield manager said. “It killed emotions in stands and for us managers in dug out. "This is why I don’t like this system, and when I hear even with this system it was very difficult and tight to decide if it was right, this makes no sense to me.” The one thing the confusion over VAR did do was deflect some attention away from a turgid first period from United. They were much improved after the interval, when a second goal for Lukaku calmed nerves and Huddersfield’s hopes of a comeback wilted after a spirited reaction to the Belgian’s third minute finish, but this was not a performance that will give Sevilla much cause for concern ahead of the first leg of their Champions League Round of 16 tie next Wednesday. Gutted I won’t be at Huddersfield but I need to get better. Come on United ���� @ManUtd— Paul Pogba (@paulpogba) February 17, 2018 Eric Bailly, a late substitute here after 3½ months out with an ankle injury, should feature against the Spaniards but whether Pogba returns is less clear. United had taken the unusual step of issuing a statement before kick-off to explain Pogba was missing through illness but Mourinho claimed afterwards he did not know what the exact problem was, although he insisted somewhat pointedly that he had planned to start the Frenchman on the left of a midfield three. “When I was told by the doctor this morning that he was not coming, I don’t want to know anything else about it,” Mourinho said. “I have to think who is going to replace him. Now is the time to think about Paul, to know what happened, why he didn’t feel good enough to play, can he play or be available to help us on Wednesday. Now we eat something in the bus and wait for information.” Managers David Wager and Jose Mourinho on the touchline Credit: Getty images Coming in a week when Mourinho felt compelled to refute claims Pogba was having second thoughts over his decision to join United amid apparent frustration at his role, it was inevitable his absence would set tongues wagging. But United’s first half struggles, with the midfield sat too deep and inviting Huddersfield to attack, underlined how much better this team are with Pogba in it. That said, Lukaku took both of his goals clinically at the start of both halves while Huddersfield blew their best two chances, Thomas Ince failing to turn in a low cross and Rajiv Van la Parra shanking a volley wide. Released by Juan Mata for the first, Lukaku cut inside Christopher Schindler with ease before firing low into the bottom corner and he not only finished but started the second. Finding Sanchez before carrying on his run, the Chilean’s return pass to Lukaku was sublime, splitting Huddersfield’s defence, and the the Belgian demonstrated a cool head to run across Danny Williams and slot home. 7:51PM Mourinho on VAR "I keep saying that it should be a referee's decision and not our decision. Why? Because the referees want to perform well and they're not happy to make mistakes, and if they have the VAR to help them make the decision, I think the referees would be happy with that. "But if the VAR change their decisions from good decisions to bad decisions (laughs) it's a bit frustrating. He's touching (his ear) and I think something is going to happen. I dunno what to say, it was a beautiful action. "After the Premier League I follow the Portuguese one and we have it there, amazing things that put the true in the result. BUt I also saw some controversial decisions that bring the VAR into a doubtful situation. I'm happy with the decision, it's like the technology on the goal line. I don't want to score if the ball doesn't cross the line, I'm happy with the true." 7:48PM Oh this VAR chat is doing my head in They got the decision right, it seemed a bit confusing, some wrong graphic did the rounds somewhere. "That could have cost Manchester United a place in the quarter final" says Jake Humphrey. But it was the right decision! If it had been allowed to stand by the referee and linesman then United were 2-0 up and Huddersfield were pretty much done. As it was, Huddersfield could come out in the second half and have a go at only 1-0 because - and this is the crucial bit - the decision was correct. It doesn't matter how many millimetres Mata's knee was offside by, or how stupid that bit of the rule is, he was offside as defined by the laws of the game. Imagine Huddersfield had been able to pull this one back to 2-1. You couldn't blame the VAR for United losing because the decision was correct. It's annoying because it's marginal and seemed a little confusing, and by Jove do people seem to hate being even slightly confuddled about anything. That's what the issue seems to be to me, people a little afraid of change, others not enjoying the feeling of not having control of something they have always thought they understood and that shift to the norm. It will mean little goals like this are ruled out going forward, huge decisions like Lampard's goal vs Germany will count and incorrect decisions don't impact games. I'd imagine smaller teams will benefit in the long term - plenty of big clubs do seem to get the luck of certain decisions at times. 7:37PM Juan Mata likes VAR but found it confusing "I did! I celebrated but you know apparently the VAR showed it was offside. What do you think? Yeh well I dunno, the important thing is it didn't matter but it's the first time I meet VAR. I'm up for it, I think it's needed especially when it's clear in a decision like red card, penalty, offside. I scored a goal, when I came to the dressing room they told me it wasn't very clear. If the VAR isn't clear what do we do? "I'm still not sure!" 7:26PM FULL TIME A clinical win in a solid Man Utd performance. There was nothing particularly inspiring about this one but Huddersfield played really well and were just undone by the quality and cunning of Lukaku's double. If they can play more like this in the Premier League they should be fine. 7:24PM 90 mins +2 Martial has started shielding the ball in the corner, trying to go past players with little tricks. United step up, Huddersfield win the ball back but can't do anything with it. Eric Bailly comes on for the final few seconds, replacing Lukaku. 7:21PM 90 mins Huddersfield keep working the right wing, finding space in behind Martial's half-hearted defensive efforts and Luke Shaw being pulled out of position. Another cross from wide is met in the middle by Mounie, who tries a bicycle kick but shoots harmlessly wide. 7:19PM 87 mins Billing hasn't given up yet though and does some more of his short passing one-two style around the edge of the area. Again, United soak up the pressure and clear their lines. It's so difficult to break Mourinho teams down. Matic looks for Martial with a lovely long pass down the channel. He sprints away, pulls the ball across the area but puts it between Lingard and Lukaku. Neither can get on the end. 7:17PM 85 mins Sabiri heads it from six yards with his first touch but gets underneath the cross and shoots over! That was a decent chance! 7:16PM 84 mins And that should be Lukaku's hat-trick. Lingard gets his aim wrong and passes behind the striker when the chance to tap into an empty net looks on. Huddersfield get forward and win another corner. Sabiri comes on for Van La Parra. 7:14PM 82 mins Lingard on for Mata. It feels like this game is done. Huddersfield don't seem to have enough left in them to turn it around and United are sat deep, taking their time and happy to slow everything down. 7:12PM 80 mins Lukaku has been superb tonight. As I type that he is rather too easily tackled by Schindler but other than that he's been excellent. Martial gets on the ball but can't go past his man, Mounie comes away down the right but doesn't have the support he needs and Malone passes straight to McTominay, who wins a free-kick. 7:08PM 77 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES Hmmm. Sanchez is taken off for Martial. He's not been at his best today but that is presumably to save him for future matches. He does tend to run around a lot. 7:07PM 75 mins Billing picks up the ball on the edge of the area, shapes to shoot on his left but it's a cunning ruse! He cuts onto his right and shoots from a narrow angle but Romero gets behind it and blocks well. United are on the break! Sanchez has men over and looks for Mata at the back post but places it too close to the goalkeeper. 7:05PM 73 mins Great play by United. A few passes forward and Young is put into space on the right, fires a pass low to Lukaku at the edge of the box and he has a chance for a hat-trick, takes too long to shoot, puts the ball on his right foot... and is blocked. 7:02PM 70 mins Malone and Smith come on for Kongolo and Hadergjonaj. Two full-backs swapped - is that to keep them fresh for other games? Or is Wagner trying to find a way back into this one with some energy in wide areas? Ince tries to work himself a little bit of space in the D but his shot is blocked. 7:01PM 68 mins Man Utd happy to sit at half way and invite pressure before launching counter-attacks. 6:58PM 65 mins Credit: REUTERS Matic, Carrick and McTominay have been excellent in the centre of the pitch today. Sanchez keeps moving inside the pitch to get involved, leaving United's left wing empty. 6:55PM 63 mins What a ball. Unbelievable execution from Sanchez, who ignores Shaw's overlapping run and punts what seems like a wild hit forwards but which turns into an inch perfect pass for Lukaku. Lukaku plays Mata in on the overlap, he goes around the outside of his man but his pass to the six yard box is dived on by the goalkeeper. 6:52PM 60 mins Young is put under pressure and accidentally puts a back pass straight out for a corner. Romero punches that one away, Sanchez sends Young away and United have men over again! Could this be a third? Huddersfield do really well to shut down the move before the ball is too close to the box. 6:49PM GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLL! Lukaku goal 2 Absolutely ruthless from Lukaku. United break at rapid speed, Lukaku leads the charge and runs onto a return pass from Sanchez - perfectly weighted and placed. Lukaku does all the hard work, speeds away from the last man, keeps his composure and finishes low past the goalkeeper. It's a smash and grab goal. 6:47PM 54 mins Huddersfield win another free-kick on the edge of the area as Sanchez clumsily brings down Williams. Again the wall does its job. And United are on the break! 6:44PM 53 mins Ince takes it on his left foot, hits the wall and there's a little scramble in the box. La Parra swings at thin air, Mata puts a high foot up. Smalling puts in a strong, perfectly timed challenge to kill the attack. Shaw is bumped into by La Parra... and Man Utd have a goal kick. 6:43PM 51 mins Huddersfield are at it in this half. They win a free-kick on the edge of the area, which suits a left footer. Tom Ince stands over the ball, Billing stands in front to block the view. Shaw and Sanchez are way forward of the 10 yard referee line and he has to come over to tell them to wise up. 6:40PM 48 mins Great ball towards Hadergjonaj from deep! The full-back has a race with Shaw to get to a through-pass towards the United penalty area but loses. Lukaku wins a free-kick wide right about 30 yards out. 6:38PM KICK OFF 2 We're back! 6:37PM Romelu Lukaku scared of lip readers Top secret information from Lukaku to his boss. I dislike this growing trend for footballers to hide their words from the cameras. 6:30PM Actual VAR lines Aaaaaand apparently the VAR did have access to straight lines and wasn't looking at the bendy lines one. And if this is the view they've seen, how is it offside? How is that offside? It's mental. 6:25PM Let's recap Mata scored a perfectly good goal, the VAR reviewed the decision and ruled it out because of some very bendy lines. Above is BT Sport's graphic, below is the VAR: Are the lines bent because it's catering for the camera angle? I'm stumped and really can't work it out. Just to add, I love VAR but when you get someone freehand drawing lines on a screen to work out if someone is offside or not... what the hell even is this? 6:21PM HALF TIME Well well well. It looks like we're going to need VAR for the VAR! To be fair, at least the officials have had the chance to look at the evidence and make an informed decision but that seems extraordinarily harsh on Mata. 6:21PM GOOOOOOO oh no it's offside too United have the ball in the back of the net again but this time the offside call is much easier. 6:20PM 45 mins +3 Umm. Who's been drawing these lines? 6:18PM NO GOOOOOAAAAALLLL Controversial scenes here! The VAR has reviewed the decision and think that Mata's knee is offside! That's amazing. It's still 1-0! 6:18PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLL!!!! Mata goal Ashley Young is superb on the right wing, skips past two challenges and puts a brilliant ball into the area for Mata. He must be offside! He must be! Mata goes around the goalkeeper and slots in. 6:14PM 42 mins Credit: GETTY IMAGES Look who it is! Fergie and David Gill have come to watch their favourite team. At the moment they're watching them defend a corner... which Romero punches clear. Kongolo fouls Smalling and United take their time over the free-kick. 6:12PM 41 mins Billing's having a decent game in the Huddersfield midfield and always seems to be involved when they have the ball. Wagner's side have a lost a bit of their zip and the tempo has slowed in the last 10 minutes or so, United crushing the game and making things a little less fluid. Lukaku finds Sanchez with an absolutely brilliant switched pass but Sanchez's cross is headed away. 6:09PM 38 mins Mounie goes down after a battle in the air with Smalling but it's more a problem with his ankle than his head. 6:07PM 35 mins Billing tries an effort from long range, saved by Romero. Lukaku tries one on his right-footed from outside the area and is blocked. 6:03PM 33 mins Credit: PA Tom Ince has just seen the video for "Just" by Radiohead. 6:02PM 32 mins Shaw's clearance isn't very good and Huddersfield are able keep the pressure up and win a corner. Smalling and Lindelof both attack it and head the ball behind between them - that's poor communication from the centre-backs and they're pretty fortunate not to have clashed heads. 6:00PM 30 mins Danny Williams has players right and left to pass to but the pitch opens up and he decides to shoot from all of 30 yards. Romero saves easily. 5:58PM 27 mins United win a corner. Sanchez hooks it into the box, Matic has space but can't control properly... the chance goes and then Lukaku is caught offside as a long ball is aimed onto Smalling's head to knock on. Mata angrily waves at his teammates to suggest they're not doing what they're supposed to be. Sanchez looks a little lost in this United team for me. He doesn't seem sure when or who to press, or even where he's really playing. 5:54PM 24 mins Lukaku defends at left-back... I'm not sure why it's really happened. Moments later Huddersfield attack down the right again - they're focusing all their attacks down that channel - and a teasing ball around the centre-backs almost provides a chance for Tom Ince to score. He slides in but can't quite get enough on the shot. Goal kick. Luke Shaw is being done in down the left wing, he needs Alexis Sanchez to do some tracking back. 5:52PM 21 mins Lukaku finds Sanchez with a clever through-pass but the Chilean can't do much with it and is offside anyway. United have calmed the Huddersfield storm. McTominay changes La Parra but is a little too eager to tackle him and gives away a free-kick. 5:49PM 19 mins Credit: REUTERS Ashley Young gets forward and from just in front of the box looks to find Lukaku with an early, bending pass. It's deflected behind for a corner, Mata swings it in and Smalling has the chance to get a shot in from 12 yards! He swings at it but is blocked, Huddersfield head away. Sanchez gives a poor pass straight to a Huddersfield player. 5:47PM 16 mins Mourinho is up on the touchline yelling instructions at his players, urging them to push up the pitch quickly to stop the Huddersfield onslaught of attacks. 5:46PM 15 mins I love that Graham Poll sounds a lot like Tim Key, so that whenever he turns up to do some voiceover analysis on referee decisions, it's like Sidekick Simon from Alan Partridge is weighing in. Huddersfield really taking the game to Man Utd here and have them trapped on the back foot. Romero has to save a long range effort. This suits Mourinho's counter-attack style but at the moment, they're in danger of being overrun by blue and white shirts. 5:43PM 12 mins Sanchez is taking up really central positions for United, playing alongside Lukaku while in possession. The away fans are singing "ooh aaah Eric Cantona" - presumably he's there somewhere. 5:41PM 10 mins Huddersfield have started really well here (apart from conceding) and are going at Man Utd. They're pressing high, playing quick forward passes and have won another corner. That's slightly cheeky (the ball isn't in the corner circle) and if Huddersfield score from it, will have the goal disallowed. VAR is a strange creature. That corner is dealt with after a bit of a penalty box scramble. This game is alive! 5:39PM 7 mins PENALTY! That should be a penalty shouldn't it? Graham Poll says Chris Smalling's hand pinging the ball away at face height from a corner doesn't qualify as a penalty. Huddersfield keep the pressure up. IIINCE! That's so close from Ince! He might be offside but is able to turn inside the area and pulls the ball across the box, just unable to get it on target or provide a tap in to a teammate. 5:36PM GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLL! Lukaku goal This is absolutely brilliant striker play by Lukaku. Mata finds him with a superb through ball, he turns his man, sprints on the counter-attack all the way to the box and then bounces the defender off him easily, cuts onto his right foot and finishes coolly past Lossl. That's the Lukaku we like to see! 5:33PM 2 mins United pressing high from the start but Huddersfield do well to bypass it and Quaner takes on Shaw, never looks up and then drags a shot way wide of goal from the corner of the box. That was ever so slightly ambitious. 5:32PM KICK OFF Here we go! 5:24PM Mourinho's happy selfie face Credit: GETTY IMAGES 5:19PM David Wagner says "It was me. We said after the defeat at Old Trafford, OK come on boys. Now we have to show we are capable, the players have done it, played very good football, been solid defensively and strong offensively. We are happy and glad to host United in the FA Cup. "I think we've seen you have to make everything right and be on your best to be a competitor, we are excited today. This is a present for our supporters who follow us all season and we will try our best to come through it." 5:06PM Jose Mourinho pre-match comments "I think it's a beautiful moment for the players (Gomes and Hamilton), even if they don't play. Gomes did play for us a couple of times in the Premier League and Hamilton is the first time on the bench, I think it's beautiful for them. On the bench I have four senior players ready to play without question mark, and the fact they play yesterday for the under-23s doesn't mean I'm not going to play them. "In here we have a couple of mistakes and we pay for that. At our house we have a very organised wall, very compact, but we play well and when we scored we kept control. Today they're in their natural habitat and they'll want to try to be a giant killer and to arrive at Wembley, which is a dream for everyone." 4:55PM Huddersfield team TEAM NEWS with @ViessmannUK: Head Coach David Wagner has made 4⃣ changes to his starting line-up for #htafc's @EmiratesFACup match vs @ManUtd. ➡️ @KongoloTerence, @BillingPhilip, Danny Williams & @CollinQuaner ⬅️ @ScottyMalone28, Jonathan Hogg, @AaronMooy & @pritch_93 (AT) pic.twitter.com/R1F1RLRRFs— Huddersfield Town (@htafcdotcom) February 17, 2018 4:49PM Pogba's been on the internet Gutted I won’t be at Huddersfield but I need to get better. Come on United ���� @ManUtd— Paul Pogba (@paulpogba) February 17, 2018 4:45PM Jose Mourinho on Paul Pogba's absence When did you find out? "This morning, I was told by the doctor. No honestly I don't care, I focus on the game, just the game. I know Paul cannot play, I will think about Paul after the match." 4:36PM Jose Mourinho film poster Credit: GETTY IMAGES Jose Mourinho's been busy posing for his new film. Imagine explosions in the background and it's pretty nailed on. Could also be an album cover. 4:25PM Pre-game photos Credit: GETTY IMAGES Credit: REUTERS 4:22PM Man Utd starting lineup Six changes for Man Utd. No Pogba, De Gea, Jones, Lingard, Valencia and Martial all rested/dropped. Six changes for #MUFC - here's today's line-up! #FACuppic.twitter.com/JN9IyctMO3— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 17, 2018 Romero, Young, Lindelof, Smalling, Shaw, Matic, Carrick, McTominay, Mata, Lukaku, Sanchez. �� A first appearance on the #MUFC bench for Ethan Hamilton... pic.twitter.com/Qj8XcDOjpN— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 17, 2018 There's also a spot on the bench for highly rated (and really young) attacking midfielder Angel Gomes. 3:43PM Hello! Good (late) afternoon to you, my football friends. Welcome to our liveblog for Huddersfield vs Manchester United in the FA Cup, a game Paul Pogba will miss through illness. Hmmm. It'll be very interesting to see what team Jose Mourinho names for this. The FA Cup is probably his best chance of a trophy for the rest of the season, what with the Champions League being rather hard to win and all that, but Man Utd come into this on the back of some indifferent form. Credit: GETTY IMAGES Newcastle were able to secure a 1-0 win defending 'with their lives' in United's last game, and next is Sevilla, which will surely mean Mourinho rests a few key players. Lindelof, Shaw, Carrick and Rojo could all find themselves in the starting XI and Eric Bailly is very close to a first team return. Due to United's form, David Wagner might be inclined to play a full strength Huddersfield side and take advantage of low confidence, though Aaron Mooy and Laurent Depoitre are likely to be rested, with both doubts for this game. Team news should be in at 4:30pm.

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