Paul Heckingbottom claimed Premier League managers are completely confused by the laws of the game after Sheffield United were left incensed by referee Jarred Gillett.
Rodri’s 88th-minute winner consigned the Blades to a third straight defeat on their top-flight return and Heckingbottom felt aggrieved by inconsistency from referees over the last few weeks.
The 46-year-old questioned the wisdom of VAR and believes that a penalty given to Manchester City for handball by John Egan might not be given in every game.
‘I wasn’t happy with the refereeing,’ said Heckingbottom (right). ‘That our first free-kick was in the 56th minute is embarrassing. I’ve watched some of the decisions back and it’s really poor.
‘My initial thought (on the penalty) was that it’s hit the arm, but is there any point of having VAR if the same decisions are not being given every week? I don’t know where we’re going with it all.
Paul Heckingbottom felt aggrieved about refereeing inconsistency following Sheffield United’s 2-1 defeat to Manchester CIty
Referee Jarred Gillett was a source of frustration for the Blades boss
Sheffield United suffered their third-straight defeat of the season against the Premier League champions
‘I get that they want as little impact as possible from VAR… so get rid of it and just use it for offside. We need a degree of consistency, especially big decisions that affect games.
‘Speak to any of the guys: we just want the same decision to be given. We need to know what the laws of the game are. We’ve had three games and had decisions that aren’t consistent.’
Jayden Bogle thought he had secured an unlikely point for United five minutes from time before Phil Foden’s introduction from the bench reignited City after the midfielder had complained of stomach problems overnight.
Pep Guardiola is recovering from back surgery and his stand-in, Juanma Lillo, is desperate for the manager’s return.
‘I much prefer being with Pep,’ said Lillo. ‘Especially when it’s a question of health. I don’t enjoy this at all, not at all.
Rodri’s late goal maintained Manchester City’s 100 per cent start to the new season
Assistant coach Juanma Lillo filled in for Pep Guardiola at Bramall Lane with the City boss missing after having back surgery
‘He’s been totally present today. If there had been more space on the bench I wouldn’t have sat in his seat. I have to sit in my seat, Pep’s seat is Pep’s seat.’
Erling Haaland missed the penalty after Egan’s handball but Lillo praised the striker’s mentality after a tough afternoon in which he did eventually open the scoring.
‘Today would’ve been difficult for any striker with how it was in the first half,’ said Lillo. ‘Of course there was the situation with the penalty, which is frustrating for anyone, not just Erling.
‘This kid, it’s not easy to knock him down. If there is anything that demonstrates what Erling is like it’s not the goal, it’s the mental strength to know that at some point the chance will come.’