Chris Wilder has admitted that the failure to award Sheffield United a goal in their draw with Aston Villa was “unbelievable” and “disappointing”.
The Premier League returned in controversial fashion on Wednesday night, as goalline technology failed to spot that the ball had crossed the line when Villa goalkeeper Orjan Nyland fell backwards after catching Oliver Norwood’s free kick.
Referee Michael Oliver’s watch did not signal a goal, despite replays showing the ball had clearly crossed the line. It is the first such mistake by goalline technology since it was introduced in 2013.
Consequently, the Blades missed out on the chance to rise into fifth place, as the game ended goalless.
Manager Chris Wilder revealed his frustration and bewilderment at the decision after the match.
“I think the goalkeeper was in the Holte End when he caught it – or dragged it back,” he said. “My issue is obviously one of frustration.
“Seven cameras haven’t picked it up – the most technical league in the world – everything we see at every angle and it hasn’t seen a goal. That is disappointing from our point of view.
“We went to Tottenham last year, John Lundstram’s big toe was offside and I was hanging around at White Hart Lane in the pouring rain for 10 minutes waiting for a decision. I don’t understand why I can’t wait 10 minutes in Birmingham.”
Hawk-eye Innovations, who run the goalline technology, have since released a statement confirming that the officials did not receive a signal to alert them to the goal. Hawk-eye says it “unreservedly apologises” for the error.
Wilder admitted he could not believe what has happened – although he once again sent a reminder of the contentious decisions his side have faced this season.
“The statement has come out and it is unprecedented, unbelievable,” Wilder added. “I did have a laugh and joke beforehand that we have had some poor decisions go against us and I said I wouldn’t bet against one going against us this evening.
“We were waiting for somebody at Stockley Park to show a bit of courage and say they will make that decision but if they’ve not seen it and seven cameras haven’t seen it I suppose he will say that it was not their decision to make.”
The Blades boss also admitted it was strange to play behind closed doors – with no fans allowed in due to the coronavirus pandemic.
However, Wilder insists it will be difficult for all sides to get used to playing without their supporters present.
“It was a really strange afternoon and evening. Quite difficult as well. We should never underestimate the effect of playing in front of supporters. That was quite difficult for both sets of players.
“Most times we would be talking about a pretty average game but we are not, we are talking about a decision that has affected the result.
“We were all going into the unknown today. I thought the tempo would have been a bit quicker.
“I love coming to this place. We’ve had some great battles. It is a club I have a huge amount of respect for but it is double difficult – you can’t replicate it when there is no-one in the ground.”