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United Vs Spurs: Mourinho and Solskjaer React

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The Premier League is finally back for Manchester United‘s Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Tottenham Hotspur‘s Jose Mourinho. The two managers had a date on Friday night and the two sides were good enough to share the points as the match ended 1-1.

Though the match is over, the talking points from the match can not be overlooked and the managers of both United and Spurs are having different perspectives on the game. As expected, Mourinho feels the referee of the match, Jon Moss, didn’t do enough to ensure that the match ended fairly. He also blamed the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) for not correcting the referee against his call for a penalty.

The penalty happened in less than 10 minutes to the end of regular time when Tottenham Hotspur was already leading with a goal. Manchester United’s Paul Pogba who was brought in as a substitute in the second half, drive into Tottenham‘s box eighteen before he was brought down by Tottenham‘s Eric Dier.

Immediately Pogba went down, the referee pointed to the penalty spot. Tottenham‘s players agitated against the decision because they believe that the foul was too soft. To end their agitation, VAR came to the rescue but still allowed the penalty to stand. Hence, Mourinho believes that both the referee and the VAR were wrong.

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United are blessed with penalties

United have become extremely lucky when it comes to being awarded penalties in the Premier League. Before the coronavirus pandemic halted football, the club had already gotten 22 penalties. So, the one they got last night made it 23 penalties altogether this season. They have been awarded 9 penalties more than any other club in the league this season.

“We know that Manchester United have an incredible record this season of penalties given, so we knew that everything in the box was very dangerous for us”, Mourinho told Sky Sports. “We had to be very, very cautious, every shot to block, we knew and were prepared to do it with hands behind the body, we knew it could happen.”

Besides his unhappiness with how blessed United is when it comes to being awarded penalties, the Portuguese tactician lamented how he needed the likes of Dele Alli who was suspended by the football FA due to a social media rant and Lucas who developed a slight injury during training. He said while reading the game, he knew the kind of players the game needed but didn’t have them on the bench or on the field.

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“I was unhappy with the fact that the way I was reading the game, I had no bench to react to it”, he said. “With Lucas and Dele, they would be on the bench or they would be playing, then I would have on the bench some of our attacking players.

“When they become more dominant because we were quite tired upfront, by being tired we couldn’t press, it was easier for them to build and at the same time we couldn’t be dangerous on the counter-attack because we had no legs for that. So it was hard to manage the game in that sense.”

Unlike Mourinho Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is satisfied

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Jose Mourinho
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Jose Mourinho

In the case of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, his only problem with the game was that Manchester United played good enough and should have ended the match with three points.

He was specifically excited that Pogba came into the match and proved to the world that he is fully back after 9 to 10 months of being out of football.

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The coach is also excited that the French international can play alongside Bruno Fernandes who just joined the team in January but has become a big hit at the club within weeks.

“Today Paul showed he could play with Bruno and Bruno again got a penalty and scored a goal,” Solskjaer told Sky Sports after Spurs and United encounter.

“He’s delighted to be back on the pitch. He’s had a nine-to-10-month injury nightmare. It’s not been like you’re out for 10 months, it’s been I’m almost back, work hard, work hard and then get back, get injured again and have an operation.

“He was close to coming back before the lockdown and now finally he’s back playing and I’m sure everyone can see he’s got great hunger for the game and he’s a very, very good footballer.

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