Solskjaer points finger at Chelsea website after seeing VAR deny Man Utd penalty

Solskjaer Manchester United 2021
The Norwegian manager was not happy to see past VAR decisions in his side's favour dredged up in a Blues pre-match briefing

Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer suggested that an article published on Chelsea's official website in the build-up to Sunday's game could have influenced a key penalty decision that went against the Red Devils. 

One of the few talking points in a dour 0-0 draw came when Callum Hudson-Odoi handled the ball in the first half under pressure from Mason Greenwood. 

Referee Stuart Attwell stopped play to consult the VAR monitor, but ultimately judged the Chelsea player had committed no infraction and ordered the game to continue. 

What did Solskjaer say? 

When asked by Sky Sports whether his team should have been awarded a spot-kick, Solskjaer fired: "Yep. 100 per cent.

"When they stop it and [Attwell] walks across. From here you can see it’s handball, they’re shouting handball against our player. It’s taken two points away from us.  

"I can’t say, because that’s not gonna be good for him. I didn’t say it, i don’t want to cause controversy. It’s not right is it.

"It’s all this outside influences, VAR talk before the game on Harry, cheeky when they put that on the website. That’s influencing referees. 

"You can read what they’re saying about Harry Maguire and putting pressure on referees to give penalties against us.

"We’ve seen there was a manager, was it Frank [Lampard], that started it. Loads of talk about us getting penalties when there’s no doubt, and of course today we should’ve had a penalty."

The article in question

The piece which Solskjaer took exception to went up on two days before Sunday's meeting, and was billed as a pre-match briefing

Amid the usual lowdown on team news and recent results, a paragraph on central defender Maguire caught the eye. 

"Sometimes Harry Maguire has successfully added to their options by driving forward, but if he is dispossessed it risks exposing their rearguard. The Blues will want to be deadlier than of late when that happens," the article explained. 

"The Man United skipper’s actions will also be under scrutiny again on Sunday after his penalty area tangle with Jamal Lascelles last weekend.

"In recent Chelsea meetings the Red Devils’ centre-back has survived VAR reviews of a potential penalty foul on Cesar Azpilicueta and violent challenge on Michy Batshuayi that may well have affected the outcome."

The passage was accompanied by a photograph of Maguire seizing Azpilicueta around the neck as his team-mates look on. 

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The bigger picture

Sunday's draw meant that Chelsea spurned a chance to break into the top four and close the gap on United, who remain in second place. 

United, meanwhile, now trail rivals City by 12 points after Pep Guardiola's chances dispatched West Ham on Saturday to secure their hold on the summit.

Further reading