‘The big decisions went against us’ – Steve Bruce bemoans VAR calls after defeat

Aston Villa ran out 2-0 winners over Newcastle.

Newcastle manager Steve Bruce saw his side beaten at Villa Park
Newcastle manager Steve Bruce saw his side beaten at Villa Park

Steve Bruce questioned the new Premier League mandate that is supposed to favour attackers on marginal offside calls after Newcastle had a penalty award overturned by VAR in their defeat to Aston Villa.

The Newcastle manager castigated the two VAR decisions that went against his team in their 2-0 loss at Villa Park.

He did not think anyone “in the ground thought that was handball” when Tyrone Mings’ header hit Jamaal Lascelles’ arm for Anwar El Ghazi to double Villa’s lead with a 62nd-minute penalty.

And he was even more frustrated by VAR’s decision to call Callum Wilson offside 15 minutes from time, after Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez felled the Newcastle striker in the penalty area.

Wilson was preparing to take the penalty when VAR adjudged he had been offside.

Former Villa manager Bruce said: “The big decisions went against us. With the offside decision, I didn’t think we were looking at lines for armpits any more.

“Lascelles’ foot is above his head so if your foot is above your head, you’ve got to put your hands up. I’m disappointed with VAR because that’s two or three big decisions that have gone against us that have proved costly.

“We never saw any last week. I thought we were [meant to be] erring on the side of the attacker and [Wilson is] offside by, what, a big toe? So I’m really frustrated with that and the handball. There’s no one in the ground thought that was handball.”

Villa took the lead in first-half stoppage time when new signing Danny Ings found the back of the net with a brilliant overhead kick – something that did not surprise Dean Smith in the slightest.

The Villa boss also believes it will be a contender for goal of the season.

He said: “We’ve seen him score a 20 yarder in the top corner against us last year so we certainly know the type of goals he can score.

“But it was a super finish and one which will already be in the list for goal of the season even though it’s only his second game. It was what we needed.

“We had some spells where we put them under pressure and they had spells when they put us under pressure.”

Ings’ goal came after Mings headed on Matt Cash’s long throw-in in a new tactical ploy brought in by new set-piece coach Austin MacPhee.

“Matty Cash has always had a long throw and Austin’s come in and utilised what’s on offer there,” Smith said.

“Ty’s gone up and won a great first header and Danny Ings has done what he’s done to a lot of clubs, including ourselves before. It’s great to see him in a Villa shirt scoring a goal like that.”

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