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Mauricio Pochettino still unconvinced by VAR despite it sending Tottenham through against Manchester City

You would be forgiven for thinking Mauricio Pochettino is now the world's biggest supporter of VAR, after it helped send Tottenham Hotspur through to the Champions League semi-finals in the most dramatic fashion in their 4-4 away goals win over Manchester City.

First Fernando Llorente's crucial third goal for Spurs, which turned out to be the one to send them through, was allowed to stand after referee Cuneyt Cakir checked footage and ruled that the striker had not handled the ball prior to it hitting his hip and going in.

But this was nothing compared to what happened in injury time, when Raheem Sterling thought he had scored the goal to send Manchester City through.


Sterling charged to the sideline in celebration, Pep Guardiola was going wild in front of the fans, who themselves were nothing more than a gaggle of ecstatic limbs.

The scenes of celebration resembled those that followed Sergio Aguero's famous title-winning goal - at the same end of the Etihad - in 2012, but the mood soon turned sour as replays showed Aguero was marginally offside in the build-up, and it was chalked off.

Spurs' players, who were previously crestfallen on the floor, were now punching the air as City fans were in stunned silence.

And yet Pochettino, whose side conceded a penalty via VAR in last week's first leg, still has the same misgivings about the review system he's harboured in the past.

"I didn't watch. I promise, I didn't watch," he said of the replays.

"It is difficult after the game to be relaxed or calm. You need to trust in the VAR when it is against or for you.

"The decision to include VAR in football is going to change the game a little bit. I am pro the basis and trying to help the referees and maybe one year ago I was a little bit worried.

"Today my feeling is the same, when it is for you you need to accept. When it is against you, you need to accept.

"Like the penalty in the first leg or the situation Fernandinho on Harry Kane that the referee can check.

"The situations that are happening in every single game we are watching, like yesterday Barcelona against Manchester United, it was a penalty, not a penalty?"

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola, who saw his side's quadruple hopes crumble, has been a big advocate of VAR in the past, but questioned the Llorente decision.

"I support VAR," he said. "It is just to see the goal maybe from Llorente's handball.

"From one angle it is handball. From another it is not. I am for fair football.

"When it is offside, it is offside. I think in the future, even in the present it will be fair.

On Sterling's goal being ruled out, he added: "I don't know, I saw the action and the people decide it is offside, it is offside. What can I say?"

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