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Wolves keeper John Ruddy laments combination of VAR and the new handball rule

UK & international sports | Published:

Ruddy’s side had two goals overturned across their third-round tie with Manchester United.

John Ruddy bemoaned the new handball rule (David Davies/PA)

John Ruddy became the latest to voice his frustration at the new handball rule after Wolves were once again denied a goal by the video assistant referee in their 1-0 defeat at Manchester United.

Wolves looked to have taken the lead in their FA Cup third-round replay at Old Trafford through Pedro Neto but replays showed the ball had ricocheted off Raul Jimenez’s arm before he provided the assist.

Under new rules introduced this season, any handball which leads to a goal will be penalised, even if accidental, with Wolves defender Matt Doherty denied in the original tie at Molineux for an identical infraction.

Ruddy told Wolves’ official website: “What can you say? Listen, I’m not a fan of VAR, never have been, never wanted it in.

“It’s here, but I just think when you bring something like VAR in, to then change a rule like the handball rule and make it so minute is asking for trouble.

“We’re seeing time and time again this season that it is costing teams for the smallest of things, we’ve had it two or three times now with this rule alone. So, yeah, frustrated.”

Ruddy replaced Rui Patricio in goal on Wednesday night, and he twice denied Daniel James in the first half in-between a fine low stop from Juan Mata’s curling effort.

But the former Norwich custodian was powerless to prevent Mata when he burst clear midway through the second half and cleverly lifted over Ruddy for the only goal of the tie.

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While defeat was a bitter pill for Wolves, Ruddy insists they must not dwell on the setback as they return to Premier League action against a Southampton side that have won five and drawn one of their last six fixtures.

Ruddy added: “I thought we did enough to certainly take it to extra time, or even win the tie, so there’s a general feeling of disappointment in there because it was a good opportunity for us.

“I think the goal was literally the only time they probably had a bit of luck, or a break, or a little lapse in concentration from us, and we got punished for it, and that’s going to happen.

“We’ll look to take the positives and build that momentum against a Southampton team that’s had a bit of resurgence recently.”

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United full-back Brandon Williams thinks United are always bullish about their chances if they can keep a clean sheet.

“As long as we don’t concede, we know we’re going to score,” the 19-year-old told MUTV.

“If we do our job at the back and the full team puts the shift in, I’m sure we’ll get the win like we did.”

United will take on either Watford or Tranmere in the fourth round later this month, but the 19-year-old is focused on more immediate priorities, with a trip to runaway Premier League Liverpool leaders coming up on Sunday.

Williams added: “It’s a good competition to be in, we’ll try to go as far as we can and I’m sure we can win the competition.

“(It’s) another tricky fixture but we’ve got games coming up that are more important at the minute. When it comes up, we’ll try to win that.”

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