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Solskjaer hits out at Chelsea website saying it was trying to influence referee

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Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer talks to referee Stuart Attwell after the Premier League match at Stamford Bridge. Photo: Ian Walton/PA

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer talks to referee Stuart Attwell after the Premier League match at Stamford Bridge. Photo: Ian Walton/PA

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer talks to referee Stuart Attwell after the Premier League match at Stamford Bridge. Photo: Ian Walton/PA

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer angrily hit out at the Chelsea FC website for trying to influence the referee and accused rival managers and “outside influences” for a controversial penalty decision going against Manchester United in their frustrating goalless draw at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

Left-back Luke Shaw went even further and claimed that referee Stuart Attwell did not give the first-half penalty because he was concerned about the controversy. Both Solskjaer and Shaw could face an investigation from the Football Association for their comments.

“The ref even said to H (United captain Harry Maguire), I heard him say ‘if I say it was a penalty then it’s going to cause a lot of talk about it afterwards’. So I don’t know what happened there,” Shaw claimed.

“(Maguire) said they got told it was a penalty. They got told it was a penalty by Var so... I’m not sure. I don’t understand. If he’s going to stop then you think he is going to give a penalty. We had the ball, we were attacking so it’s confusing with this Var.”

When asked about what the official allegedly said to his players, Solskjaer responded: “I can’t say because that’s not going to be good for him (Attwell).” Questioned whether it was a concern, Solskjaer responded: “Of course it is.”

He added: “But I didn’t say it (what Attwell is claimed to have said) because I don’t want to cause controversy but that’s not right, is it? You know it’s all these outside influences. Even the Var talk before the game here on Harry, that’s cheeky. That’s cheeky when they put that on their website. That’s influencing the referee.”

In the run-up to the fixture the Chelsea club website posted a story which included references to Maguire and previous incidents. It read: “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.”

Solskjaer added: “You can go back and look at the website. You can read it saying about all the controversy about Harry Maguire. Putting pressure on the referees to give penalties against us.”

Managers, including Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp and former Chelsea manager Frank Lampard, have questioned the high number of penalties awarded to United and Solskjaer added: “There was a manager, was it Frank, was it who started it? No? There was loads of talk about us getting penalties when there is no doubt whatsoever and now of course we should have had a penalty.”

United were furious when they were not awarded the spot-kick for a possible hand-ball by Callum Hudson-Odoi. The incident, which led to an argument between the two benches, was picked up by the video assistant referee Chris Kavanagh with Attwell eventually going over to check on the pitch-side monitor before deciding to continue with his original decision not to award a penalty.

Asked whether he could understand why it was not given, Solskjaer said: “Not, not at all. Especially when he stops it and he walks across so he can watch it. From here you can see it’s a handball but you think it’s our player that does it and they are shouting handball for our player and when you look at it on the video it has taken two points away from us.”

Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel insisted the referee was right to award the spot-kick after Hudson-Odoi and Mason Greenwood challenged for the ball. “How can this be an intervention?” he said. “The player in red plays the ball with the hand and we are checking for what - a penalty? Why does the ref have to check it? You watch it for one second on the iPad… I did not understand what the check was for.”

The result leaves Manchester City – who host United next Sunday – 12 points clear at the top of the Premier League. United are second with Chelsea failing to take the opportunity to move above West Ham United into the top four although they remain unbeaten under Tuchel.

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