Sheffield United boss hints at VAR bias as Nottingham Forest row prompts 'easy decision'

Ryan Yates and his Nottingham Forest team-mates celebrate his goal against Sheffield United at Bramall Lane.
Ryan Yates and his Forest team-mates celebrate his goal at Sheffield United, but should it have stood? -Credit:George Wood

Nottingham Forest’s recent complaints against VAR helped match officials take the “easy decision” not to award Sheffield United a key foul during the Reds’ 3-1 victory, according to Blades boss Chris Wilder.

He felt Ben Brereton Diaz was pushed in the build-up to Ryan Yates’ second goal in Forest’s vital victory at Bramall Lane, where Callum Hudson-Odoi scored twice to move his side three points clear of 18th-placed Luton with two games left.

Referee Chris Kavanagh did not award a foul and VAR Michael Salisbury did not intervene, and Forest boss Nuno Espirito Santo admitted he was “anxious” after Yates’ strike.

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But the Reds avoided any more drama, two weeks after launching a scathing attack on VAR and accusing Stuart Attwell of being biased following a 2-0 loss at Everton.

Wilder suggested that situation had influenced the decision. “It’s a foul isn’t it? He puts two hands in the back, Ben Brereton Diaz doesn’t just fall down,” he said. “He pushes him.

“I will let you put two and two together. I think it is a pretty easy, comfortable decision for everybody to make because of the situation.”

Asked whether he thought the match officials did not want to give a decision against Forest, he said: “I will let you decide on that situation. I’m not going to get dragged into that debate, a foul is a foul, whether it is a push in any part of the pitch.

“For me it is a foul, people tell me the game has moved on, you could day Ben needs to be stronger, but there is no need for him to go down like that, you can see he has two hands in his back. They score from that opportunity, we go 2-1 down.”

The Blades took an early lead through Brereton Diaz before missing a host of chances to extend their advantage. Instead, Hudson-Odoi scored either side of Yates’ controversial first Premier League goal to earn a vital win.

Nuno says his side still have work to do in their bid for Premier League survival, although their situation could look even rosier if an appeal against a four-point deduction for breaking financial rules is successful, with news expected next week.

If they were to get just one point back, that would effectively relegate Burnley due to Forest’s superior goal difference.

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