By Temisan Amoye
Manchester United boss, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer aimed a dig at his Liverpool rival, Jurgen Klopp, blaming the German for referees failure to award the Red Devils seemingly genuine penalty calls.
The Norwegian in a pre-match press conference said that the Man United ought to have been awarded three penalties in their last two games, blaming an earlier made statement by Klopp for the change of fortunes.
Man United were eliminated from the Carabao Cup in midweek by West Ham, with Solskjaer feeling they should have had penalties for fouls on Ronaldo, and Jesse Lingard.
Speaking in the pre-match conference ahead of the fixture with Aston Villa, the Man United boss referred to Klopp’s January statement as the cause for their recent penalty blues.
Solskjaer said, “We just have to hope we get what we deserve. We should have had three penalties in the last two games”.
“There was a certain manager last year who was starting to worry about us getting pens and after that, it seems like the decisions are more difficult to give.
“I’ve seen a big, big difference since then. We just have to leave it to the refs and hopefully, they’ll make the right calls very soon.”
United won 11 penalties in the league last season, one fewer than the highest tally posted by Leicester City. At the time of Klopp’s complaint, the Red Devils had won six spot-kicks compared to Liverpool’s five in 2020-21.
Since Klopp’s remarks on January 4, United have been awarded five penalties. Manchester City and West Ham have had the most, with six each.
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The penalty privilege brings to mind the “Fergie time” debate in the English Premier League. Whenever Man Utd needed to win, somehow referees created a “6-minute extra time”, whether or not it was justified.
However, whether such privilege was a myth or imagined, it neither removed from the quality of that Manchester United team nor diminished the legendary status of Alex Ferguson.
This is not the first time both managers have clashed on statements made by Klopp. Recall that Klopp’s comment on Man United transfer deals during the summer window didn’t go down well with Ole. With the Man United boss responding in a press conference.
As the season unfolds, the Klopp-Solskjaer relationship will become more interesting, and adds extra-spice for fans and pundits, reminiscent of the Benitez-Fergie era.