Manchester United captain Harry Maguire has criticised the Premier League’s refereeing but insists that his team are still in a title race even after a 1-1 draw with West Brom left them trailing rivals Manchester City by seven points.
Maguire himself came inches from a late winner for United but in truth Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side were passive and created too little against relegation-favourites West Brom. It took a special goal from Bruno Fernandes to get the Reds back in the game after conceding early to Diagne.
The England international was disappointed by that early goal conceded and insisted that it should have been ruled out for a foul on Victor Lindelof. Many pundits have agreed.
Maguire hints at Klopp influence on United VAR decisions
“Ever since other people from other teams spoke about us we’ve had absolutely nothing from the referee or VAR,” Maguire told MUTV, referring to Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp making comments in January.
“At the moment we’re playing without them [the referee and VAR] so we’ve got to make sure we’re not leaving the game in the hands of the referee or the VAR.”
Lindelof defended by United teammate Maguire after mistake vs West Brom
“I’m fed up of hearing Vic [Lindelof] can do better, I’m fed up hearing David [De Gea] can do better on the cross. It’s a foul from Billy Sharp [against Sheffield United recently]. If a big striker is wrestling Vic and puts his arms all over him of course he can do better but it’s a foul.”
Maguire also complained about a penalty decision in the second half. He was brought down as a crossed free-kick was delivered but was in an offside position.
Despite the disappointing draw, the 27-year-old was insistent that United are still title contenders.
Maguire: United are still in the title race
“Of course we are,” he said to Sky Sports.
“We have to look ourselves and go again, win the next one and the next one.”
Manchester City have seven points more than United with a game-in-hand. Any chance of catching up with Pep Guardiola’s side relies on United winning the derby on March 6th.
“They’ve obviously created a points gap. It’s disappointing.”
Solskjaer agreed that United remain contenders despite stating the opposite in recent weeks.
“We need[ed] three points to move closer to the leaders [City],” he told BBC Radio 5 Live.
“That’s disappointing because we do have ambitions of challenging the team in front of us.”
“We’re second. No one is going to give the title away in February. We need to go on a good run and have some good results in the coming weeks because we still go over to the other side of the city.”
Solskjaer was similarly frustrated at the refereeing.
VAR must have been asleep, says Solskjaer
“Someone must have been asleep,” he said, talking about the Maguire penalty shout in the second half. The VAR appeared not to check for offside, rather cancelling a penalty based on the fact they thought it was not a foul.
“It’s either offside or a penalty. Consistency is what we want and unfortunately, there has been too many times this season where we see one week it’s a foul, one week it’s not a foul, one week it’s a penalty, next week it’s not a penalty. We just have to move on.”
United need to turn some mixed form into good form to avoid being dragged into a top-four race only weeks after they sat top of the table.
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