Wolves goalkeeper John Ruddy has unloaded the full force of his frustrations with VAR by insisting he’s not a fan of it and never wanted it.
Like many of a Wolves persuasion, Ruddy was left disappointed after yet another decision from the video referee went against Nuno Espirito Santo’s side, this time when Pedro Neto’s 10th-minute effort was ruled out after a challenge by Harry Maguire saw the ball hit Raul Jimenez’s right hand from inches away in the build-up.
Ultimately, 33-year-old Ruddy was beaten by Juan Mata in the 1-0 defeat away to Manchester United in the FA Cup third round replay. But the bitter taste of VAR won’t go away.
“What can you say? Listen, I’m not a fan of VAR, never have been, never wanted it in,” said the former Norwich shotstopper.
“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.”
Neto’s disallowed ‘goal’ evoked memories of Leander Dendoncker’s effort on the opening day of the Premier League season in the 0-0 draw at Leicester after the ball hit Willy Boly’s hand beforehand.
“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,” lamented Ruddy.
“So, yeah, I’m frustrated, but we go on, we know what it’s about, but we have to put this to bed and make sure we continue in the league and build some momentum now going forward.”
Ruddy insists Wolves did enough to take the tie to extra-time after Jimenez finished poorly from an excellent opening, Matt Doherty hit the post and Joao Moutinho had a chip cleared off the line.
“Disappointed, ultimately,” added the ‘keeper. “I thought, although we didn’t play to our best, 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.
“We know how dangerous we can be on the break and, with what we’ve got up front, we’re always going to create chances.
“I think it was more about weathering storms at certain times, being compact and disciplined in our shape, and I thought we did that for the majority of the game.
“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.”
Wolves’ winless run now stands at five games and now face an extremely difficult looking test away to in-form Southampton on Saturday.
Saints have won six out of their last nine Premier League games – including wins against Chelsea, Tottenham and Leicester – and are unbeaten in five, with striker Danny Ings being touted for an England call-up after scoring 11 goals in his last 11 games.
“We have to show character, we have to bounce back from this,” said Ruddy.
“We have to put this to bed, move on, and we’ve got a big game on Saturday.
“We’ll look to take the positives and from the rest of the season, and, again, build that momentum against Southampton team that’s had a bit of resurgence recently.”