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Juan Mata in action at Huddersfield.

Mata: Proper use of the VAR can be really helpful

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Hi everyone. I’m writing this with my mind in Seville where, as you all know, this Wednesday we play a very important game. I know many of you want me to talk about the VAR, it’s just a few lines below...

The Champions League is back and there’s a special atmosphere around here because all of us are really looking forward to having a good performance in this great tournament. I’m especially excited about playing in my country again, at the Sanchez Pizjuan, a major stadium where the local team always gets big support. I hope that we can see a great football game, and that we get a good score for the second leg at Old Trafford, in front of our crowd.

Winning our game against Huddersfield and making it to the last eight of the FA Cup gave us confidence. Despite the local team put pressure on us (a lot, actually), especially in the first half, we were able to take our chances to move one step forward in this nice competition. Brighton will be our opponent in the quarter-finals, at Old Trafford. 

Goals: Huddersfield 0 United 2Video

Mata: I like VAR but it can be betterVideo

A lot has been said about the goal that I scored and was disallowed by the VAR. It was my first time, a new experience for me (and for almost all of us, actually). The truth is, once you have celebrated the goal you are surprised and disappointed (as you could see on my face), but this time, luckily, that goal was not needed to win…

As I said in a few interviews after the game, even if this time it didn’t play in our favour, I think in the future the VAR will be helpful for the referees, who always have a difficult job, and eventually it will bring more justice to football… Given that an unfair call or a wrong one might have significant consequences (sending a team to relegation, having a manager sacked, etc.), I understand that we must try to make the final result as fair as possible, and that’s where I think that a proper use of the VAR can be really helpful. Technology can help football to be more fair, especially nowadays when it seems that the result is the only thing that matters - we could write a whole book on this subject! 

I believe, though, that such technology should be restricted to a few particular actions that are crucial in the game (in order to avoid too many interruptions), and especially that the final decision should take less time and be more clear than last Saturday’s.

 

The VAR image from Mata's strike at Huddersfield.
This is the VAR image from Mata's strike against Huddersfield on Saturday evening
This week is a very important one, because after Sevilla we will be facing Chelsea. It’s a big game for many reasons and very special for me. It will always be. It’s one of the most difficult games of the season and a good opportunity to bring joy to our fans, although right now, I insist, we are absolutely focused on the Champions League against Sevilla.

I’m signing off now. Have a nice week.

Hugs,

Juan

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