West Ham's Declan Rice 'livid' after VAR hands victory to Sheffield United

West Ham's Declan Rice 'livid' after VAR hands victory to Sheffield United
West Ham's Declan Rice 'livid' after VAR hands victory to Sheffield United

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - West Ham United midfielder Declan Rice claimed "nobody wants VAR" in the Premier League after the controversial review system condemned his side to a dramatic 1-0 defeat at Sheffield United on Friday.

The Hammers trailed to an Oliver McBurnie second-half strike but thought they had earned themselves a valuable point at Bramall Lane when Robert Snodgrass fired home Rice's pass in injury time.

While the West Ham players and staff celebrated, the goal was checked by VAR - as is mandatory - only for the goal to be ruled out after midfielder Rice was judged to have handled the ball in the buildup.

Though the rules were correctly enforced, Rice complained that the ball had been headed against his arm by a Blades player and there was no intention on his part. The England international was furious with the decision and VAR's continual influence on the Premier League this season.

"We are fuming. All the lads are livid. I've just watched it back. He has knocked the ball into my hand. If you are running with your arms like that with the rules as they are now it is handball but it is not intentional. It is a kick in the teeth," Rice said.

"I think it is the thoughts of every Premier League player, not just me, pretty much every one doesn't want to have VAR in the game.

"There have been so many decisions this season that have been absolutely crazy. They were celebrating VAR like it was a goal and football should not be like that."

The result was a first defeat for new manager David Moyes since he returned to the club last month to replace the sacked Manuel Pellegrini.

It was a painful night all round for Moyes, who saw keeper Lukasz Fabianski suffer a hip injury before his replacement David Martin combined with teammate Fabian Balbuena to make the error that led to McBurnie's winner.

The defeat leaves the London club just two points above relegation before the weekend's matches.

The VAR decision left Moyes visibly stunned on the touchline, with the Scot insisting the goal should have stood.

"We're disappointed. We scored a good goal and it didn't count. The defender got his head to it and headed against Declan," Moyes said.

"Whoever checked it I think got it wrong because it was a really good bit of play by Declan, where'd you put your hands, tie them behind your back?

"It doesn't change my view. I'm a football man, watched and played it all my life and it looked good enough to me.

"I wouldn't say I'm a great fan of VAR but we are having to come to terms with it. People who have played football know when it's not right and tonight is one of those situations."

It was a rare moment of VAR relief for Sheffield United, who have been on the wrong end of several decisions this season.

Manager Chris Wilder, whose side move up to fifth in the table, conceded his team had enjoyed a lucky escape.

"I feel for David, that's happened to us two or three times this season. We've dodged a bullet late on," he said.

"As soon as they scored, no one was looking at it but I felt for the opposition.

"It's the same moan and groans as we've had in the past. We would've been devastated if we'd have drawn that game."

Updated: January 11, 2020 10:35 AM

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