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ISL 2018-19: Pune City's Phil Brown - If it's affordable, ISL should have VAR

21:32 EAT 20/02/2019
Phil Brown NorthEast United Pune City
Phil Brown is happy that his team picked up four points from back-to-back away matches….

Adil Khan’s equaliser in the 69th minute of the match deferred NorthEast United’s celebrations of making it to the Indian Super League (ISL) 2018-19 playoffs.

The Highlanders need to wait for their final game of the season to see whether they create history by making it to the final four of the league for the first time.

On Pune City’s performance, coach Phil Brown said, “I was disappointed with the way we conceded the goal. I am not blaming one person for that. Having watched the goal by Iain Hume getting disallowed it is difficult for the team.

“The character and the spirit the team showed, we changed, we had a three-man midfield. Marko Stankovic came to me 10 or 12 minutes into the game saying ‘my hamstring was tight’ and then he played for 55 minutes. That was one-third of the midfield down. Adil then got the goal. It changed our outlook to the game. We looked as if a team that would win the game. I think we could have done better. We would have gone 2-1 up.”

He added, “Before the match, their coach was talking about a must-win situation. I hope he came across a tough game. To get four points from two away games is not an easy achievement. We now have two games to go and I guarantee that none of these lads will give up.”

On introducing VAR in ISL, the former Swindon Town FC manager suggested, “VAR is an expensive tool. I believe in VAR. I thought the World Cup was a dangerous playground for it if truth be told. It is the biggest the stage in the world and experiment such a tool was dangerous but when I went to a seminar in London before I came in India and I spoke to 450 referees and I said that it is improving the game, no doubt about it.

“Coaches will accept the line if it has crossed the line. But at the same time, the seminar said that it will be still down to human error. It will be still down to the referee. I think that’s the key. VAR depends on whether we can afford it. Once we start we can’t stop. It stopped in the second division of England. Once we start, all the top leagues should have it, this includes the ISL.”

Brown clearly suggested that the team missed the services of talisman Marcelinho. He said, “Yes, without being derogatory to the team, we missed the creativity. Defensively we looked solid. But what Marcelinho does is when we regain possession and we give him possession, we can play in the opposition’s final third for 10 minutes. We did not have that today. When the ball got there it lasted few minutes tonight. But overall can’t take away anything from the performance of my team.”