When Manchester United appointed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, there were doubts as to how the club will play, etc. No one could have expected them to make penalties a staple source of goals. Recently in a 0-0 draw against Chelsea, United was denied a penalty after a VAR check. This did not go down well with the Norwegian, who thought his side deserved a penalty. Usually, when such controversial decisions are taken, managers often blame the referees. However, Solskjaer took a completely different turn.
He said “It’s not right, is it. It’s all these outside influences. VAR talk before the game on Harry [Maguire], cheeky when they [Chelsea] put that on the website. That’s influencing referees.“
The former Cardiff City manager accused Chelsea’s website of influencing the referees. The website claimed that Harry Maguire was lucky to escape a potential red card last in the game at Stamford Bridge. While this season the Blues were denied a penalty after Maguire had groped Azpilicueta by the throat. It is understandable that the club’s website will write about the match in a biased manner. However, Solskjaer’s claim that it has influenced Attwell’s decision is bizarre.
Here is a list of Solskjear complaints this season:
1. Fixture Congestion
Manchester United had just beaten Everton 1-3 at Goddison Park. However just 48 hours earlier they traveled to Istanbul to play against Istanbul Basaksehir. The Red Devils lost the game in Champions League and they had to face Everton at a 12:30 pm kickoff away from home.
Solskjaer blasted the Premier official claiming that his side was set up to fail. He said Our boys were set up to fail today with the scheduling,’ he raged. “How can you expect players to perform with the 12.30 kick-off time? It’s an absolute joke.”
The Norwegian also unhappy with Luke Shaw coming off injuried in the game. He argued that the fixture congestion is making it difficult for players to perform well and it draining them mentally.
2. Where are the fans at Old Trafford ?
During the start of the season, Manchester United struggled to get a home win. They lost on an opening day to Crystal Palace. It was followed by a humiliating 1-6 defeat by Tottenham. After that, there was a goalless draw against Chelsea and 0-1 defeat to Arsenal.
When questioned about his side poor home form. He said that the lack of fans is not helping his team. If fans were there, they would have made a difference for his team. But he did not realise that all the teams in the Premier League don’t have fans in the stadium. Manchester United was no exception to it as well.
He said “The two games against Chelsea and Arsenal were very close games. I’m 100 per cent sure that, if we had our fans, that would have helped and maybe sparked us [with] that little X-factor that we needed.”
3. The Referees Mistakes
Manchester United was in great form ahead of Sheffield United’s visit to Old Trafford. While the Blades were struggling in the Premier League like no other team ever has. However, they managed to stun the home stun with a 1-2 win.
The victory did give Sheffield United two points but it was not without controversy. There were two decisions involving Harry Maguire and Anthony Martial which were given against the Red Devils. While the Blades survived the decisions and made most of them.
Solskjaer pointed out that a post-match report has stated that the two decisions were incorrect by the referee. Perhaps the game might have been different had the two decisions gone in United’s favour. The United manager said, “I don’t like to bring these up but I’ve got the delegate’s report on the referee and the two decisions were wrong.”
4. The Penalty Problem
There is no doubt that United have been given a lot of penalties since Solskjaer has been appointed. There have been times when they should not have been awarded a penalty but it was given. This it is obvious that other mangers will start to question it as well.
In October last year, Frank Lampard questioned it. As to how United are getting so many penalties. Even Jurgen Klopp pointed this out. He stated that United have been given more penalties in 2 years than Liverpool have been given in 5.5 years.
The Cardiff City manager responded by saying, “We’ve seen there was a manager, was it Frank [Lampard] that started it? Loads of talk about us getting penalties when there’s no doubt, and of course today we should’ve had a penalty.“
5. Lack of Preparation
Manchester United’s Premier League season started a week late compared to other clubs. This was because of their involvement in the Europa League. The Premier League had decided to give them one week extra for preparation.
However, Crystal Palace stunned them at home with a 1-3 win. Former Manchester United winger Wifired Zaha was the talisman that day. He inspired them to a stunning win. When questioned about the defeat the former Cardiff City manager said “The first one [against Crystal Palace]… we certainly look at it thinking we didn’t have any preparation.”