Frank Lampard didn’t need the Crystal Palace outcry this week to put his players on an equal footing against Manchester United.
Lampard is still battered by Chelsea’s excluded goals, penalties conceded and red cards missed in three defeats against United this season.
Many key video decisions appear to be in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side and he will warn his defenders to be vigilant, especially when he takes on Bruno Fernandes in the penalty box.
Frank Lampard admits he would like VAR to go in favor of Chelsea against Manchester United
“It would be nice for VAR to play in our favor in this one,” smiled Lampard as he prepared for the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley on Sunday.
“There is always a human element, they have to make a decision. The puzzling thing about some of the recent decisions – and that of Thursday (when Palace was denied a penalty) – is that it’s a very, very clear and obvious decision that was wrong and was not reviewed and modified.
“A few of these things have happened and it’s strange. You have to be clear-headed. Some might or might not go against you. But we seem to be in a period when, as far as Manchester United is concerned, they have some in their favor.
When United won 2-0 at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League in February, Harry Maguire dropped a red card for beating Michy Batshuayi and goals scored by Kurt Zouma and Olivier Giroud were denied by VAR Chris Kavanagh.
Many key video decisions appear to be in United’s favor recently – especially during the fight against Bruno Fernandes (right) in the penalty area
Palace chairman Steve Parish said on Thursday at Selhurst Park: “Is VAR broken” when he saw no penalty for travel on Wilfried Zaha before United rushed to the other end to go up 1-0.
What would have been an equalizer by Jordan Ayew was then refused for offside, the seventh scored against United and then wiped out during this inaugural VAR season in English football.
No top flight team has been picked up more often and United have also received penalties 13 times this season, tying a Premier League record.
Fernandes, signed in January, quickly gained a reputation as a qualified tumbler in the penalty area and Lampard will remind his defenders not to offer the Portuguese midfielder a leg to drop.
“It’s an important part of the defense,” he said. “They have to be careful because when players of such high quality and speed as United forwards travel fast you have to move your feet and not dive.
“You understand the qualities of the opposition with players like that, and Fernandes because he is very intelligent in his movement. We saw this at Aston Villa to make something feel like a penalty when it might not even be.
“We can talk about VAR decisions and find out if they’re right or wrong, but if a player is going to hang one leg and not move their feet, obviously you expose yourself to penalties, VAR or no VAR. “
Marcus Rashford has opened the scoring twice from the place against Chelsea this season, first when United won 4-0 at home in August and again in the Carabao Cup in October. Then come the VAR controversies of that February night that Lampard described at the time as “destroying the soul”.
Marcus Rashford has opened the scoring twice from the spot against Chelsea this season
“I don’t want revenge,” said the Chelsea manager, although he did channel the feeling of injustice at Derby last season. They lost three times to Leeds and traded espionage allegations before rebounding to end Marcelo Bielsa’s dream of promotion with a victory at Elland Road in the play-off semi-final return.
“There was a lot more to that, a lot of stuff off the pitch,” Lampard said. “I don’t want to get caught up in this ‘we have to take revenge’. In the League, we are fighting and we have a point in advance, it will be tight.
“These three losses are only part of our season. The Carabao Cup is long gone, the FA Cup is what awaits us and we respect them for what they are: a very good team with very good individuals, playing in great shape.
“These are two great teams competing and we want to win. “