Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes the officials got every major decision right in Manchester United’s 1-0 win over West Brom.
The United boss admitted he had thought Bruno Fernandes should have been penalised for a foul on Conor Gallagher, which was given as a penalty by referee David Coote before he overturned his decision after consulting VAR. Solskjaer said the replays showed the United man getting a touch on the ball, while the Norwegian also agreed with the handball call that allowed Fernandes to slot home from the spot minutes later.
“I thought at the time, live, that it was a penalty,” he said on the West Brom appeal. “But when you look at the video you can see Bruno gets the ball first. And I think the penalty that wasn’t given for Villa at the end against Brighton [in the Saturday lunchtime game] was in the mind of the ref as well.
“So he gets the ball first and maybe touches him slightly, but I think it’s the right decision.”
On the decision to allow Fernandes to retake his own penalty after VAR spotted Sam Johnstone off the West Brom goal-line, Solskjaer again lauded the technology.
He said: “That’s VAR working and then you can discuss if it’s a penalty or not. I don’t know the handball rule, we’ve had it so many times, but it was clear. Probably an unnatural position.
“But we created enough big chances to score more goals, so we should have been more comfortable.”
On Fernandes’ initial miss, Solskjaer added: “It’s easier to take a penalty in front of no crowd and having a speech in front of 15 or 20 people, isn’t it? He’s been doing it all his life, so if you don’t want to take a penalty, you’re in the wrong place.
“It’s not easy when we keep giving away our good goalkeepers. When we keep developing these good players… and Sam [Johnstone] had a fantastic game. I had him before I went back to Norway and to see him develop as he has is great, but he doesn’t have to do it so well against us!”
Solskjaer admitted United can play a lot better but were hampered by a small amount of preparation time after the international break.
“We have a tradition of making it hard for ourselves,” he said, as United finally ground out a league win at home this season. “When I was a player here Sir Alex [Ferguson] used to say that ‘that’s why I’m going to have heart trouble’, but he’s still healthy so that’s fine.
“Towards the end we seemed edgy, because we could have seen the game off with a couple of good chances.
“Delighted with a clean sheet but we could have made it more comfortable. International breaks, they never help. All our prep was this morning, so it’s not easy when you only have 20 minutes or half an hour to prepare for a game.
“Three points, home win, so we can stop talking about. But if we want to move up the table, we have to play better.”