VAR system is 'killing the emotion' of football - Mauricio Pochettino
LONDON -- Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino says English football is not ready for VAR next season and warned it could "kill the emotion" of the game if implemented in its current form.
The first half of Spurs' 6-1 win over Rochdale in the FA Cup fifth-round replay was marred by a number of VAR decisions, leaving the Spurs players and Pochettino baffled, even after they had reviewed the footage at half-time.
Erik Lamela's fifth-minute goal was ruled out by VAR after a foul by Fernando Llorente and referee Paul Tierney denied Spurs a penalty using VAR after Lucas Moura was felled.
Spurs were then awarded a penalty using VAR after Son Heung-Min had made it 1-0 but the South Korean's successful spot-kick was ruled out for ungentlemanly behaviour after he stopped in the run-up.
Rochdale equalised through Stephen Humphrys -- a goal reviewed by VAR -- and there were five minutes of stoppage time at the end of the first half.
"My feeling is difficult," Pochettino said after the match. "I am so happy because the job is done and we are in the quarterfinal. The first half was embarrassing for everyone.
"I am not sure that the system [VAR] is going to help. We love the game that we know. Football is about emotion, we want to keep the emotion. The fans are not so happy about what they have seen today. In my opinion we have the best referees in Europe and the world.
"Football is about mistakes. We make mistakes, the players make mistakes, the referees make mistakes. When we watch the action at half time it was difficult to take some decisions. The referee has the last word always.
"But if my opinion is important, there is a lot of work to do. We need to talk, to explain. Because today every one of us was confused. This will not help the football. I am open to help and to analyse, and to make better. If we use this system we need to be sure.
"I think you and the fans and myself all agree, watching today shows it is too early for next season.
"We need to respect our fans and the fans are not happy. You could kill the emotion, and that is why you pay the ticket, when the conditions are so bad.
"Otherwise you stay at home and watch the game on TV. That is my opinion. I am for the new technology but we must be careful when we change the game. We are going to kill emotion. Rather than talking about football we talk about the machine."
Pochettino felt the officials incorrectly ruled out both Son and Lamela's goals, adding: "You cannot stop in the last step [on a penalty], that is the rule.
"When I watch on the TV, I don't think he completely stops, he moves very slow? But look, difficult, eh? To say was it a foul or not, wright or wrong. My opinion was goal, like in the Lamela goal, for me wasn't a foul. For me it is the referee that is there but we stop for two minutes and people outside are judging."
After the break, Spurs scored five times, with Llorente bagging a perfect hat trick in 12 minutes to take his goal-tally to five since joining Spurs for £15 million from Swansea in the summer.
The Spaniard has looked bereft of confidence of late, and failed to make the matchday squad for their last three league matches and Pochettino said: "I am so happy for him. I was disappointed, he found it difficult to adapt. Hopefully the hat trick will help him feel more free and be more natural."
Dan is ESPN FC's Tottenham correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @Dan_KP.