Central Coast coach Alen Stajcic concedes a horror run of losses has taken its toll on the morale of the Mariners, but patience with the young team is essential for eventual A-League success.
Central Coast benefited from VAR overturning a decision on Saturday night, but coach Alen Stajcic believes the controversial A-League technology is not worth the price of passion for fans.
The Mariners beat Melbourne Victory 3-2 in a gripping contest in Gosford, a game that was decided by two penalties in injury time – the first of which was a handball, decided by VAR, which allowed Matt Simon to equalise.
However, during the first half, 21-year-old Kye Rowles appeared to score but was ruled marginally offside by the video referee, inflating and then deflating the Mariners crowd in a matter of minutes.
“I used to be a pretty big advocate of VAR before it came in, especially after last men’s World Cup, I thought they did an excellent job,” Stajcic said after the game.
“But the longer that time goes on, even though we were the beneficiaries of the decisions tonight, in the end, we’ve traded in too much of the raw passion and emotion of a goal for the potential percentages of a correct decision being high.
“We’re still debating whether it was a correct decision or not. We actually haven’t solved any problems. We’ve just moved where the decision gets argued and when it gets argued.”
The English Premier League season has been riddled with controversy with goals being disallowed for the slightest of offences, sometimes coming down to millimetres.
The A-League VAR system has also faced backlash, and Stajcic believes the cost is too high for fans who want entertainment.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen with VAR in the future. But if there was a vote on it, possibly for next season, I’d be voting to keep it the way it was before,” he said.
“I’m happy with the referee’s decision being the final call and giving them that power that they’ve had for 150 years of football.
“At the end of the day it’s a guy drawing a line on his computer that can move it one pixel this way or that way which means was it offside or not?
“I don’t think the laws of the game were ever written that way to have an armpit offside, as much as we want it to be black and white.
“For me we’ve just moved the goalposts. Maybe we possibly get more decisions correct, but the amount that we’ve traded in in terms of the flow of the game and the passion of the game, I think we’ve traded in too much.
“There are benefits of the VAR but losing the passion and emotion and the feel and flow of the game is too big of a trade in for me.”