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Aston Villa boss Dean Smith reveals ‘juggling balls’ dig that led to his sending off against Man City

Dean Smith

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Villa were furious that Manchester City’s opening goal stood.

Aston Villa manager Dean Smith has revealed what he angrily said to the fourth official in the aftermath of Manchester City’s controversial opening goal on Wednesday night.

City kept the pressure on Manchester United at the top with a 2-0 win at the Etihad Stadium. Ilkay Gundogan sealed the victory with a penalty but it was Bernardo Silva’s opener that attracted the headlines.

Villa’s bench were left incensed after referee Jon Moss and VAR official Andy Malley allowed Silva’s goal to stand despite debate over Rodri’s role in the build-up.

Dean Smith

The Villa players and coaches argued that Rodri was offside before tackling Tyrone Mings.

“I still don’t understand the rule if I’m honest,” Smith said via Sky Sports. “I don’t think anybody can tell me why the goal’s been given; he’s taken advantage of an offside position.

“It’s 10 yards offside, he comes back and tackles Mings from behind. What’s Mings meant to do, let it go through or do we just stand 10 yards offside in the next few games now? I don’t understand.

What Dean Smith said to the fourth official

“I thought they’d at least go over to the screen because it looked a clear offside when I looked myself. When I realised they weren’t going and the VAR hadn’t mentioned anything, I just told the fourth official I thought they’d had juggling balls for Christmas.

“I got a yellow card [from Moss] for saying I think you’ve had juggling balls for Christmas. What I said for the red card doesn’t need to be censored, it wasn’t swearing. He came over and said I’m interpreting the laws of the game, and I said you should’ve done that earlier in the game.

“I think I got treated rather unfairly, I’ve seen a lot of worse things said to Jon Moss before and he’s not dealt like that with it. It just looks like he couldn’t wait to give me a yellow and then a red. I’m frustrated at myself, I got sucked into something I shouldn’t have.”

PGMOL statement on Rodri role in Silva goal

After the game, PGMOL – Professional Game Match Officials Limited – released a statement explaining why Rodri was not offside in the build-up to the goal.

“In the 79th minute of Manchester City vs. Aston Villa, Bernardo Silva scored for Manchester City. In the build-up to the goal, Rodri was initially standing in an offside position as the ball was played upfield.

“Tyrone Mings deliberately played the ball, controlling it on his chest. As soon as Mings deliberately played the ball the following Law applies:

A player in an offside position receiving the ball from an opponent who deliberately plays the ball, including by deliberate handball, is not considered to have gained an advantage, unless it was a deliberate save by any opponent.

“As the Law deems that Rodri has not gained an advantage, he has not committed an offside offence and play should be allowed to continue. Rodri legitimately took possession of the ball from Mings, starting the attack which resulted in the goal.”

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