Solskjaer claims refs influenced by Klopp’s penalty comments

National Sports

MANCHESTER, England (AP)Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer claimed on Friday that referees have awarded fewer penalties to his team because of a complaint by Liverpool counterpart Jurgen Klopp at the start of the year.

A week later, Solskjaer is still aggrieved that United was denied two penalties in its 2-1 win over West Ham in the English Premier League on Sunday. He also thought his team deserved a penalty against the same opponent in a League Cup match on Wednesday that West Ham won 1-0.

”I don’t know, but there was a certain manager last (season) who was starting to worry about us getting penalties,” Solskjaer said, ”and after that it seems like the decisions are more difficult to give. Surely I’ve seen a big, big difference since then on.”

Solskjaer didn’t mention Klopp by name but the insinuation was clear.

In January, Klopp said United had won more penalties in two years than Liverpool had during his 5 1/2 seasons in charge at that point.

After Klopp’s remarks, United was awarded five penalties in 22 league games until the end of the season. Before that, United had six penalties in 16 league games.

United hasn’t had a penalty this season.

The English Football Association could view Solskjaer’s comments as an attempt to influence officials ahead of United’s home match against Aston Villa in the league on Saturday.

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