Sheffield United finally gleaned their first Premier League win of the season, beating Newcastle United (1-0), eleven to ten, with a penalty goal. And this penalty awarded after watching the VAR for a hand from Federico Fernández was not at all to the liking of Newcastle coach Steve Bruce.
“The ball hit Fernández’s hand, but it was not intentional. It could have been a foul on him too,” the Magpies coach explained at first, as Fernandez was on the action visibly unbalanced by Sheffield striker Billy Sharp. The VAR is supposed to be there for clear and obvious decisions. I don’t understand how someone who is 300 miles away on a TV screen can overturn [the referee’s decision]. You know that when the referee goes to the screen, it will be a penalty. It’s pathetic, it’s beyond me. …] It ruins the game. »
Sheffield (20th) had not won in the Premier League since 11 July (3-0 against Chelsea), and with no wins, two draws and fifteen defeats so far, had established the worst start to the campaign in the history of the English championship. For its part, Newcastle (15th) has not won in eight matches.
What future for Bruce?
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Asked by Sky Sports about his situation after the defeat conceded Tuesday night at the pitch of the red lantern Sheffield United (1-0, 18th day of Premier League), the English coach warned that he did not intend to leave his place. “I will never leave a challenge.
I have stayed long enough to have that respect. We weren’t good enough and I take responsibility for that because I chose the team.” Appointed in July 2019 and under contract until June 2022, the 60-year-old coach is going through a bad patch with the Magpies. Unsuccessful for six days and eliminated by Arsenal in the third round of the FA Cup, the St James’ Park-based side are in 15th place in the standings with 19 points, eight points behind the relegation-threatened Fulham, who are two games behind. Next Monday, Newcastle will visit the Gunners on Matchday 19.
The Magpies were the first team to have a Premier League match postponed this season, but more than 60 games in England have been called off. Aston Villa and Derby are also having to field under-23 teams in the FA Cup. The Premier League has warned it could discipline clubs if they do not act over breaches of Covid-19 rules.
“Financially it’s right to play on, but for me, morally, it’s probably wrong,” said Bruce. “I understand people want to see a game of football but we are just as vulnerable as everybody else. “The speed which it hit our club within hours of each other, it was quite incredible how it rips through you. It’s difficult to contain and stop and it leaves people sick.” Newcastle captain Jamaal Lascelles contracted Covid-19 but could return to face Arsenal in the FA Cup on Saturday, though winger Allan Saint-Maximin has still not recovered from the virus. Asked about sides having to field weakened teams in the FA Cup because of positive cases, Bruce replied: “It devalues the FA Cup. We understand we are playing seven games in January, after seven in December, and the season has been squashed and there is no room for anything else. “But to play weakened teams or youth teams – is that the way round it? Not for me.”