A well-placed Fulham fan captured Harry Maguire’s exasperated reaction as yet another goal was ruled out for Manchester United by VAR during Saturday’s win against Fulham.
The centre-half’s frustration is palpable as referee John Brooks assesses the VAR monitor, his anger undoubtedly shared by every single United fan who tuned in to watch the game.
(WARNING – Video contains expletives)
I love Maguire’s reaction for the disallowed goal.😂
“I wasn’t even involved ref! Hey! I wasn’t even involved! F****ing hell!I wasn’t even involved!” pic.twitter.com/OqekXi1beG
— 𝗧𝗲𝗻 𝗛𝗮𝗴’𝘀 𝗥𝗲𝗱𝘀 ✍🏼🇳🇱 (@TenHagBall_) November 5, 2023
Though United would ultimately end up winning the game 1-0, courtesy of a last-minute winner by Bruno Fernandes, it was a tough match for Erik ten Hag’s men, devoid of clear-cut chances or any semblance of attractive football.
Arguably, Fulham were the better team and may feel hard done by to have come away from the match with nothing to show for their efforts. The home side were largely held at bay by the impressive Maguire, who overcame an early blow to the head to produce a Man of the Match performance in the United defence.
Fulham (1.17) 0-1 (0.74) Man Utd
— The xG Philosophy (@xGPhilosophy) November 4, 2023
The injury crisis that continues to plague the United dressing room undoubtedly played a significant role in this however, with Ten Hag once again fielding a severely depleted side.
Marcus Rashford and Casemiro were ruled out in the days leading up to the game, joining Lisandro Martinez, Luke Shaw, Tyrell Malacia and Amad Diallo on the injury table. Raphael Varane and Kobbie Mainoo, both recently returned from absence, were only fit enough to make the bench.
Nevertheless, it would have likely been a very different story if Scott McTominay’s opening goal in the 8th minute had not been disallowed.
A free-kick from Christian Eriksen found Alejandro Garnacho arriving at the back-post, who subsequently fired it back across goal into the path of the Scottish international, as McTominay finished off a well-executed move. Or so they thought.
VAR promptly jumped in to once again rule out a United goal; the fourth such example this season.
Maguire was adjudged to have been offside as the free-kick was taken, and then deemed to have been interfering with play to such an extent his offside was sufficient enough to rule the goal out.
Given it was Maguire’s ear which looked offside, and the centre-back never actually touched the ball – instead, if anything, being fouled by the Fulham defender – his frustrated swearing in the video above are understandable. It’s not a new feeling for United either.
In the entirety of last year’s campaign, the team with the most goals disallowed by VAR was Liverpool – with six. United are already fast approaching this total with less than a third of the season played.
In fact, only eleven goals have been ruled out through VAR intervention this year so, meaning Ten Hag’s side account for over a third of the total so far. Manchester City, by comparison, have had none.
United have not played well this season and the players, as well their manager, must shoulder the blame for these performances. But when the team is facing almost unprecedented levels of bad luck – either through injury or through constant poor VAR decisions – some leeway must be granted.