Leeds United captain Liam Cooper gives VAR verdict as Premier League debate rages on

Leeds United captain Liam Cooper admits VAR will "never be perfect" - though prefers to be with the technology than without it.

Saturday, 9th October 2021, 11:59 am
Leeds United surround referee Kevin Friend amid a VAR review at Elland Road. Pic: Getty

The Whites skipper has been on the receiving end of a number of decisions involving the use of the video assistant since the club's promotion to the Premier League.

Most notably his sending off at Manchester City last year for a challenge on Gabriel Jesus, which split opinion after he won the ball but followed through on the forward.

United have also seen a number of reviews - or lack of reviews - go against them this season, most recently winger Dan James saw two penalty claims turned down against Watford and Newcastle United respectively.

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VAR has caused debate among English football supporters since its introduction in the 2019/20 campaign over whether it adds or takes away from the game.

Leeds have benefited both ways following the step up from the Championship over a year ago, though have seen moments of euphoria cancelled out after premature celebrations like every other team in the top flight.

Cooper - who is currently away with Scotland on international duty over the October break from domestic action - was asked if the technology would enhance the top flight north of the border, as the Scottish Premiership decides whether to introduce it.

“I think it adds to it,” Cooper told the Scottish media. “As professionals we all crave the right results, and the right outcome.

“I have had a couple [of VAR decisions] myself. Obviously the penalty [vs Everton], having seen it back it probably was a penalty but there was definitely two players at it.

"I was sent off away at Man City last year because of VAR but on my behalf I won the ball and came into contact with (Gabriel) Jesus afterwards. I am not sure how you stop momentum when you go and win a tackle.

“But these things are never going to be perfect. Like I said, we all crave the right decision. More times than not VAR does that. It is just hard to get used to at the start. I think everyone would welcome better decisions in the game.

“We have been on the receiving end of a fair few bad calls, penalties not given to us and things like that. I am a big believer in them evening themselves out. Sometimes you get them, sometimes you don’t. We move on.”

Asked about VAR taking some of the spontaneity away from goal celebrations for players and supporters, he said: "It does, yes, but if you want to get to the right decision sometimes you have to put that on the back burner.

“The celebration, the euphoria around scoring a goal does get taken away. But I suppose you get to the celebrate twice if it is given the OK, so it becomes a double celebration, so that’s not too bad.”