Man United fans react angrily to Graham Poll's claim about Mark Clattenburg decisions

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Who'd be a referee, eh?

Mark Clattenburg is in the spotlight once again after taking charge of Manchester United's 0-0 draw with Burnley on Saturday, a game that saw Jose Mourinho sent to the stands following an altercation with the referee at half-time.

Ander Herrera was sent off for the Red Devils, even though replays seemed to show that he had just slipped when he was given a second yellow for a lunging challenge.

Mourinho wasn't the only one incensed by some of Clattenburg's decisions, as the Old Trafford faithful became increasingly heated as the game went on.


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Yet, according to former referee Graham Poll, that may have been their biggest mistake.

In fact, Poll has made a rather contentious claim in his column in the Daily Mail - that Clattenburg refuses to give decisions in favour of teams once the fans have turned on him.

"Everton fans will testify that Clattenburg has an Achilles heel, which is that he gives nothing to a side once their fans turn against him," he writes.

Clattenburg's weakness

"It was their derby match in October 2007 when the Geordie dug his heels in and ignored clear offences by Liverpool players and now United fans know the same.

"Clattenburg was not alone in struggling to decipher fair from foul play inside the penalty area; equally experienced officials Martin Atkinson, Anthony Taylor and Andre Marriner struggled (in their respective games this weekend) as well.

"What is clear is that the reaction of players to the slightest of contact is making referee's decisions so hard that they appear to have agreed not to award 'soft' penalties."

United fans react 

United fans reading these comments today will no doubt be astonished, and many took to Twiter to vent their frustration. 

Gary Neville weighed in on the debate, too, with an equally surprising claim about Poll himself.

Clattenburg had also waved away a penalty appeal from United after Matteo Darmian appeared to be tripped by Burnley's Jon Flanagan, but Poll suggests that the Italian's dramatic reaction as he went down may have swayed the referee's decision.

"To be fair to Clattenburg, the contact by Flanagan was fractional and the reaction by Darmian was extreme which may have caused doubt in the referee's mind," he added.

Poll should know better than anybody how difficult it is to referee a Premier League game, so it's pretty surprising that he's hit out at his former colleague in this way.

It'll certainly be interesting to see what Clattenburg has to say if he does respond.

Are referees getting tougher on players this season? Have your say in the comments. 

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