Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says the match delegate for last week’s Premier League defeat to Sheffield United admitted Manchester United were on the wrong end of two key decisions.
The Red Devils are in second spot heading into Tuesday’s clash with injury-hit Southampton after Saturday’s goalless draw at Arsenal followed the shock loss to the rock-bottom Blades.
The 2-1 defeat ended United’s 13-match unbeaten league run, leaving Solskjaer frustrated by his players’ undercooked display and the decisions to allow Kean Bryan’s opener and then disallow Anthony Martial’s leveller.
Billy Sharp pushed David De Gea as Bryan scored and Harry Maguire was adjudged to have fouled goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale before Martial found the net – decisions the United boss says he has had confirmation were wrong.
“We want to keep on trying to of course dominate games,” Solskjaer said. “We feel we’ve dominated them.
“But of course we need a little bit of brightness, spark up the last third, take the chances.
“I don’t really like to bring these up but the momentum shifted for us with the Sheff United game. Of course it did.
“But I’ve got the delegates’ report through from the ref and the two decisions were wrong.
“They’ve admitted that their goal should have been disallowed and ours should have stood and that is a big, big momentum changer for us.
“You’re more likely when you go 1-0 up than 1-0 down that you can go on and maybe win that game.
“So that’s fine margins and it has been the way this season. Fine margins.
“You hit the post, it goes in or it goes out, that’s going to be the way all season.
“Sometimes you’re lucky with decisions, sometimes you’re not. We’ve just got to keep focusing on this game, just do our job and I’m sure the results and performances will come.”
The match delegate is a former player or manager that provides information into the overall reporting pot, which is different to the referee’s assessor or Professional Game Match Officials Limited making that admission.
Southampton have had their own gripes with officials heading into Tuesday’s Old Trafford clash, which United approach without the kind of injury issues impacting the visitors.
“Well, apart from the wear and tear and the quick turnaround, everyone should be available,” Solskjaer said. “They’re not injured anyway.
💬 "We need to get our mojo back," says Ole.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 1, 2021
“It’s just a matter of energy levels and seeing how they feel tomorrow. There are no new, fresh injuries anyway.”
United have been fortunate to avoid any major issues this season other than Phil Jones.
The 28-year-old has not played since January 2020 and was not registered for either the Premier League or European squads in the first half of the season, but Solskjaer hopes to utilise him in the coming months.
“Phil has been recovering from a knee injury, an operation he had, and he’s working hard to be available again,” he said.
“He will be included on the list and hopefully he’ll get his fitness back sooner rather than later and be available to play.”
Solskjaer confirmed United would not be adding to the acquisition of Atalanta teenager Amad Diallo on deadline day, but teenager Teden Mengi is heading on loan to Wayne Rooney’s Derby.
“We’ve made decisions that we feel have been good for individuals and for us as well,” he said.
“With the young players moving on, with (James) Garner, (Tahith) Chong, Mengi and (Facundo) Pellistri getting the chance to play more football has been important for us.
“And our group is a tight-knit group.
“We don’t have too many players in excess and hopefully Jesse (Lingard) can get going and play at West Ham as well.”