Ole Gunnar Solskjaer appeared to reignite a feud with Jurgen Klopp over penalties ahead of Manchester United’s clash with Aston Villa on Saturday.
Solskjaer’s men were knocked out of the EFL Cup by West Ham on Wednesday, losing 1-0 at Old Trafford to a Manuel Lanzini goal as they failed to beat Alphonse Areola in goal despite 27 attempts.
United felt they should have had a penalty when Jesse Lingard went to ground in the box after having his shirt pulled by Mark Noble, but nothing was given.
There were similar frustrations in the 2-1 Premier League win over the Hammers last weekend, when Cristiano Ronaldo was felled by robust challenges from Vladimir Coufal and Kurt Zouma, neither of which were penalised.
West Ham were then given an injury-time penalty for a handball by Luke Shaw only for David de Gea to save Noble’s attempt from 12 yards, the goalkeeper’s first penalty stop after a run of conceding 40 times from spot-kicks.
On Friday, Solskjaer suggested referees have been less inclined to award his side penalties since Liverpool manager Klopp claimed in January that “Manchester United had more penalties in two years than I had in five and a half years”.
United won 11 penalties in the league last season, one fewer than the highest tally posted by Leicester City. At the time of Klopp’s complaint, the Red Devils had won six spot-kicks compared to Liverpool’s five in 2020-21.
Since Klopp’s remarks on January 4, United have been awarded five penalties. Manchester City and West Ham have had the most, with six each.
“We just have to hope we get what we deserve,” said Solskjaer. “We should have had three penalties in the last two games.
“There was a certain manager last year worrying about us getting penalties, and it seems since then that the decisions were more difficult to give. I’ve seen a big difference since then. We just have to leave it up to the refs, and hopefully, they’ll make the right calls very soon.”
Ronaldo, who was rested for the cup clash with West Ham, is expected to return for the visit of Villa to Old Trafford.
Edinson Cavani has also recovered from injury and will be in the squad, with Solskjaer now looking forward to seeing the pair play together.
“He’s in the squad,” he said of Cavani. “He’s been training, and now he feels ready to contribute. He came on against Wolverhampton, then he got a slight strain in the international break when we had a game, and now he’s ready again. He’s worked really hard and diligently as he always does, and hopefully, he can have an impact like he did last season.
“It’s exciting to see them two together. I’m sure that will be a good partnership, wanting to be on the end of things.”
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