Solskjaer draws line under Chelsea refereeing controversy

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says referees ‘have a difficult enough job without extra pressure’ as he tries to move Manchester United on from penalty controversy at Chelsea… but only a month ago he was telling his ‘nice lads’ to ‘make MORE of a fuss’!

  • Manchester United were denied a penalty during goalless draw with Chelsea
  • Callum Hudson-Odoi wasn’t punished for a handball inside his own penalty box
  • Referee Stuart Attwell consulted VAR replays but didn’t overturn his decision
  • Both Solskjaer and defender Luke Shaw were critical of Attwell afterwards
  • They escaped FA punishment and Solskjaer wants to forget about the incident
  • United travel to Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Wednesday night 

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer maintained that Manchester United have forgotten about the furore to engulf their draw at Chelsea on Sunday.

Both Solskjaer and Luke Shaw escaped punishment by the Football Association for comments made surrounding Stuart Attwell’s decision-making process at Stamford Bridge.

Attwell chose not to award United a penalty when Callum Hudson-Odoi appeared to handle inside the Chelsea box, with Shaw later suggesting he opted not to give it to avoid controversy. 

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has described the refereeing controversy in Manchester United’s goalless draw with Chelsea on Sunday as ‘water under the bridge’ 

Manchester United were enraged after being denied a penalty against Chelsea on Sunday 

Callum Hudson-Odoi and Mason Greenwood challenged for the ball, which struck their arms

Stuart Attwell consulted replays on the pitchside VAR screen but didn’t overturn his decision

Man United fixtures 

Premier League unless stated

Wednesday Crystal Palace (A)

Sunday Manchester City (A)

March 11 AC Milan (H)

Europa League last 16, first leg

March 14 West Ham (H)

March 18 AC Milan (A)

Europa League last 16, second leg

March 21 Leicester City (A)

FA Cup quarter-final

‘It’s water under the bridge. You move on to the next one,’ Solskjaer said. ‘We all know they are high pressure situations.

‘We have to accept decisions. All my focus has been on Crystal Palace, I’ve not looked back on that.’

Solskjaer was asked about the way players from both teams crowded around Attwell as he went over to the VAR monitor to make his decision on the handball.  

He said: ‘The referees have a difficult enough job without extra pressure. Let’s leave them to it and make as many good decisions as they can.’

It marks a contrast to his words at the beginning of February, when he suggested after United’s home defeat to Sheffield United his ‘nice lads’ should make more fuss over decisions. 

In the 2-1 home defeat to the Blades, Kean Bryan’s opener was allowed to stand despite David de Gea being fouled by Billy Sharp before Anthony Martial saw a goal disallowed after Harry Maguire was adjudged to have fouled Aaron Ramsdale.

Solskjaer said on February 2: ‘I understand why the decisions were made. Unfortunately they went against us and they were wrong.

‘Maybe we should have made more of a fuss about it. We are a bunch of nice lads: maybe we should have really made them look at it [on the VAR monitor] before the game started again.

‘I’ve got the delegate’s report on the ref and the two decisions were wrong.’

Solskjaer had a different opinion on not pressurising referees after Sheffield United’s Billy Sharp wasn’t penalised for this challenge on David de Gea as Kean Bryan scored

Anthony Martial also saw a goal disallowed when Harry Maguire was adjudged to have fouled Blades keeper Aaron Ramsdale

United travel to Crystal Palace on Wednesday night still without Paul Pogba, who has as yet not returned to training.

Solskjaer’s side could be 15 points adrift of leaders Manchester City by kick-off after a run of only two victories from their last seven league outings. The Norwegian praised his squad’s attitude towards the truncated season.

‘We enjoy being as close to the top as possible,’ he added. ‘That’s the Premier League. The pressure hasn’t been there at all. The quality of the opposition, the tactics, the standards and demands of the season – we’re in the Europa, FA Cup – it’s the strangest year of all. Pressure, no. It’s just the Premier League.

‘Nobody has surprised me because we know what they’re capable of. I’m impressed how they’ve handle the whole situation, the pandemic, not being able to have your social life and switch off from football. You go to the cinema, out for a meal.

‘Now it is relentless. Thursday, Sunday, Wednesday, Saturday. I’ve been impressed, that’s the biggest message. We didn’t live in the Second World War thankfully and these times and restrictions have almost been as harsh. The way they’ve dealt with it is absolutely brilliant.’ 

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