Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was not happy at all with the way the game was refereed as Southampton vs Manchester United ended in a draw.
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Solskjaer’s side fought back after going 1-0 down in the first half and it was that opening goal he had a problem with.
Southampton defender Jack Stephens won the ball off Bruno Fernandes, who fell to the floor, and play was waved on as Stephens played the ball towards Che Adams and his shot deflected off Fred and flew in.
Speaking to our partners in the UK at Sky Sports after the game, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took exception to not only that goal being awarded but also the way the game was refereed.
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What did Solskjaer say?
“It seems like football has gone from one extreme to the other. That is a foul. Definitely. 100 percent,” Solskjaer said. “It happens in football that you don’t get every decision. We should have reacted better. Might be a little bit lucky to deflect off Fred, but he shouldn’t have dangled his leg. He should have blocked that shot. We need better reactions when we don’t get decisions.”
Solskjaer then added the following explanation about the new guidance.
“That being said, it’s a foul. He [Stephens] goes straight through Bruno, his hip and arm come across him. I’m not worried because it seems like football has gone from one extreme to the other,” Solskjaer said. “We cannot go from one extreme, like basketball last season into rugby now. I like the more lenient interpretation, it’s more like men’s football, but that is a clear foul.”
After a bright start to the second half, which saw Mason Greenwood equalize, Solskjaer suggested his team faded in the final 30 minutes due to a lack of fitness.
United weren’t happy with the point, as Southampton were allowed to reestablish a foothold in the game just when the excellent Paul Pogba threatened to take it away from them.
“It is still early on in the season, [we have] fitness issues,” Solskjaer explained. “We are still not 100 percent fit and then there are a couple of tactical issues we need to correct. Most of it was tiredness and sloppiness.”
Solskjaer echoes Klopp’s comments
Going back to this comments about the officiating, Solskjaer is echoing what Jurgen Klopp said on Saturday after Liverpool beat Burnley.
Klopp said that new directives for match officials to allow more tackles to go and to not disrupt the flow of the game is setting things back 10 to 15 years.
It appears that Solskjaer agrees. Managers of top six clubs will likely all echo their sentiment as they will be concerned about superstars getting special ‘treatment’ from others who can’t match their technical level.
Southampton are a tough, physical team to play against and it appeared that Manchester United aren’t yet fully fit. That, rather than tough tackling, seemed to be the main reason they couldn’t grab a win at St Mary’s on Sunday.