Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola said he could not understand why Video Assistant Referee (VAR) technology was not used at Swansea City after controversial decisions had aided his side’s 3-2 FA Cup quarter-final win on Saturday.
City came back from two goals down at the Liberty Stadium to book a semi-final spot for the second time in three seasons and keep alive their hopes of an unprecedented ‘quadruple’ in English football.
Yet Championship side Swansea were left aggrieved at the awarding of two late goals to City which almost certainly would not have stood if VAR had been in operation.
First, with 12 minutes left, City were awarded a penalty even though Swansea felt Cameron Carter-Vickers had won the ball in the area rather than fouling Raheem Sterling. Aguero’s spot kick then went in via the post and goalkeeper Kristoffer Nordfeldt’s feet.
In the 88th minute, there was further controversy as Aguero was in an offside position when heading home the winner.
Yet there was no VAR to turn to for a review, with the English footballing authorities having ruled that only Cup matches at Premier League grounds would have the video technology available.
Guardiola, a keen supporter of VAR, does not agree with this policy. “I’m sorry it was offside,” Guardiola said. “I don’t understand why VAR is not used in this competition at this stage. Hopefully, next season this won’t happen.”
“The penalty was really lucky but you need it, especially when you’re in four competitions.”
Guardiola, though, was full of praise for the character of his side, who came from two goals down to win a game for the first time in all competitions since he took charge of the club.
“We spoke at halftime that we need one goal and after we score one goal, the rest will be easier,” Guardiola added. “After we scored the goal we created a lot, a lot of chances, but the spirit and persistence helped us to win the game.”
Match-winner Aguero said City’s chance of winning the Champions League, Premier League and the FA Cup, to go with their League Cup crown they clinched last month, was “always possible”, but Guardiola again played down the possibility.
“Ask me at the end of April, then I will answer,” Guardiola added. “I want to congratulate my staff and my team. This is the beginning of the stage.
“I know for people, it will be a big failure if we do not win three or four titles, but being in a position to do it is a huge success for the club.”