Man Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had a VAR message for Lampard and Mourinho

  • Kobe Tong
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Manchester United are increasingly coming under fire in the Premier League.

Rival fans are starting to grow sick and tired of certain refereeing and VAR trends that seem to be surrounding Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men and in their defence, the statistics are pretty damning.

The Red Devils equalled the record for the most penalties (13) won in a single Premier League season and their total of 25 across the last two campaigns is 11 higher than any other side.

Have Man Utd been lucky?

And as far as VAR is concerned, United have benefitted from seven goals disallowed in their favour, which is the joint most in the league, and a record 10 decisions overruled to their advantage.

Now, don’t get me wrong, we’re not pedalling conspiracy theories here, but the online rhetoric of ‘VARchester United’ has even started to spread to rival Premier League managers.

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Mourinho and Lampard speak up

Former boss Jose Mourinho remarked: “If Manchester United does it, they will do it by playing very well in the second part of the season and when you play well you deserve, and on top of that everybody knows that they were a bit lucky.

“More than one time, luck that others have not had. We didn’t have, for example, that luck.”

While Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard said: “We seem to be in a period where, in terms of Manchester United, they’ve got a few in their favour.

“We can talk about VAR decisions and whether they’re right or wrong but if a player is going to dangle a leg and not move their feet then you obviously do leave yourself open to penalties, VAR or no VAR.”

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer fires back

It’s a pretty controversial debate, there’s no doubt about it, but the turn has now come for United boss Solskjaer to defend his team and he had a rebuttal ready and waiting during his press conference.

Per the Guardian, it was clear that Solskjaer was targeting Mourinho and Lampard when he said: “There’s too many people talking and trying to influence people. I don’t try to influence people at all. 

“We’ve earned our right to any decisions this season because it seems like there’s an agenda there to try and influence. I don’t want to go into it too much, but when you’re offside, you’re offside.

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“So we’ve had a few decisions overturned [throughout the season] from being against us to being for us. 

“You earn your own luck and I can talk about the red cards against Southampton and West Ham we should have had in games where we lost points.”

“We’ve seen the referee reports after and they’ve apologised for making the wrong decisions. VAR is there to help football, to have more correct decisions.”

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GIVEMESPORT’s Kobe Tong says

It’s a really interesting debate and one that, when you think about it, is intensely psychological.

To an extent, VAR and refereeing trends are always going to be coincidental, but the amount of calls swinging in United’s favour has – in fairness – given Mourinho and Lampard ample reason to muse.

And it’s equally understandable that Solskjaer would then be worried that all this twittering about United getting so many penalties and favourable decisions would result in a ‘correction’ from officials. 

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In other words, will it be playing on the minds of either the referees on the pitch or those in VAR headquarters whenever a big call needs to be made during a United game?

I’m more than aware that refs do everything to ensure they are as objective as humanly possible, but nobody at all – including the official him or herself – can ever be certain that innate bias hasn’t come into play.

And those minute and seemingly trivial thoughts and decisions could be game-changing as United chase a Champions League place and the FA Cup trophy. It’s going to be fascinating.

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