Man Utd manager Solskjaer calls for clarity on handball rule

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has called for clarity on the new handball rule after a weekend of decisions that outraged managers and fans.

Crystal Palace and Tottenham were both victims of harsh penalty decisions due to the new ruling, and Manchester United were also on the receiving end in their opening game of the season when Victor Lindelof was penalised.

The rule, which was tightened up by the International Football Association Board (IFAB) ahead of this season, states that if the ball strikes below the bottom of the armpit, whether it is intentional or not, it is handball. 

Just three weeks into the new campaign and there have been multiple calls for the rules to be reconsidered, with Solskjaer himself calling for more clarity.

“You can discuss [the rule] all day long but we need some clarity on what’s a foul and what’s a penalty, because now it looks like you can chip the ball up into someone’s hand like what happened to us against Palace, for example, and Victor got a penalty against him,” Solskjaer told MUTV.  

“And then the header against Tottenham – [Eric Dier] has got no idea the ball hits him. You see the goals scored against West Brom at the end, is that not handball?

"We need to get that clarity. There have been so many changes and nuances to different rules. Back in the old days it seemed simpler.”

It was a penalty from a Neal Maupay handball that handed United a 3-2 victory at Brighton in the league at the weekend and, as Solskjaer prepares for his side to face Graham Potter’s team for the second time in five days, he will be hoping for a more convincing performance from his players in the Carabao Cup.

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However, expect a different team to the XI that started the league game on Saturday. Solskjaer made 11 changes for the third-round clash against Luton last week and there could be a similar number of changes on Wednesday night.

“You can see teams have a cup team and a league team and we’ll make changes,” he said. “It’ll be very similar to what happened last week against Luton. It’s an opportunity for game time. 

“We need to build up the squad for a long season ahead and, of course, it’s an opportunity for individuals to impress.”