Manchester United midfielder disappointed with penalty decision
Midfielder Tom Cleverley expressed his opinion regarding United's appeal for a second-half penalty against Chelsea
Manchester United and Chelsea were forced to share the spoils after playing out an exciting yet goalless draw at Old Trafford in a game that marked David Moyes' first home game in charge of United.
Contrary to what the scoreline may suggest, the game saw plenty of action, most of which occurred in the middle of the park as the midfielders of both teams cancelled each other out.
Chelsea only had a couple of shots from distance from Oscar to show for their work, while United did not create too many clear cut chances despite all their attacking ingenuity.
In what was possibly the biggest talking point from the game, the home team were denied what seemed to be a clear-cut penalty on the hour mark after Chelsea's Frank Lampard appeared to block a Tom Cleverley strike with his outstretched arms from inside the penalty area.
However, referee Martin Atkinson immediately waved play on amid raucous appeals from the United players and supporters.
Replays showed that while the ball did clearly strike Lampard's arms, Atkinson was probably justified in letting play carry on, since Lampard was not even looking at the ball when it struck him.
Also, he was too close to Cleverley at the time the United midfielder kicked the ball, and could not possibly have removed his arms from the path of the ball in time.
When questioned regarding the incident after the match, Cleverley was very fair in his assessment of the matter.
He told MUTV reporters: “It was obviously in the heat of the moment, but I think it is one of them; you are disappointed that you didn’t get it but if it was given against you, you would be just as disappointed.
"I thought his hands were up and it could have been given - you’ve seen them given. But you get some and others you don’t.”
The draw saw both teams drop their first points of the season, thus failing to capitalise on Manchester City's shock 3-2 loss away to Cardiff City on Sunday, but Cleverley maintained that the result was not a debilitating one for United's title hopes, having come in just the second game of the season.
“We’re disappointed not to get the three points but I had a feeling it would be that type of the game, with it being so early in the season and two teams fighting for the title,” he told MUTV.
“It was a very tactical game. We are not too disappointed though, we haven’t lost any ground but we always like to take the initiative by winning these games at home.
Cleverley was also effusive in his praise for teammate Wayne Rooney, who started his first match of the season and produced a masterclass of a display in the centre of midfield against the very team that is rumoured to have placed two bids for him.
“Yeah he was brilliant,” Tom said. “He was definitely one of our good players tonight. He gave us energy, tenacity and a bit of quality as well. I am happy for Wazza.”
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