Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is not a fan of the growing talk from Frank Lampard, and others, that Manchester United are diving and has dismissed it as a ‘narrative’ that opposition managers are using to influence referees.
This is straight out of the Sir Alex Ferguson playbook.
Ahead of their FA Cup semifinal against Chelsea at Wembley on Sunday (start time, 1pm ET), Frank Lampard said Man United “had got a few in their favour” in terms of penalty kicks in recent weeks and has told his players to “not dive in.”
Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho has also said that Man United had been lucky in the top four race. Here was Solskjaer’s response to all of that.
“It looks like there’s a narrative. It looks like people want to influence whoever is making the decisions,” Solskjaer said. “I hear people talking about luck, that we’ve been lucky more than unlucky. If you look at the factual decisions – and I don’t want to sound like a certain manager talking about facts – but if you’re offside, you’re offside – that is clear.
“Talking about luck… the penalty that we got against Tottenham in the last minute that was taken away from us, the might have been two points for us. Talking about the red card that [Oriol] Romeu should have had against us when he got Mason Greenwood almost crippled, that should have been a red card. Maybe that would have helped us. Talking about Mark Noble when he should have been sent off against us when we lost to West Ham.
“Talking about the actual decision that is made, that is against Manchester United but is overturned and corrected. So it is actually me that should be complaining that we get decisions against us on the pitch by the onfield referee. There is a narrative there but we just have to focus on our games and let other people talk. I’m pretty relaxed about this. Referees are going to be making objective decisions. They’re not going to be influenced by any emotion anyway, I don’t think they’ll read it.”
Tell us how you really feel, Ole.
Man United have been on the end of some favorable penalty kick decisions in recent weeks with Bruno Fernandes in particular winning some penalties that have frustrated opponents, while Crystal Palace feel like they should have had a penalty kick in midweek. When it comes to the VAR calls for offside, Solskjaer is right, there is no right or wrong decision there.
At this time of the season Lampard is trying to gain any little advantage he can ahead of both the FA Cup semifinal and the final two games of the top four battle.
Solskjaer took the bait and has dished a bit back. Watch out for some fireworks on the sidelines at Wembley between Solskjaer and Lampard.