Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has claimed the Premier League’s more lenient refereeing approach is in danger of turning English football from volleyball or basketball into rugby.
The Manchester United manager was speaking after his side’s 1-1 draw with Southampton on Sunday. Saints took a first-half lead when Che Adams’ effort deflected past David de Gea with Mason Greenwood levelling things up after the break.
However, Solskjaer insisted that Bruno Fernandes was fouled in the build up to their hosts’ goal. He also argued that the failure to penalise Jack Stephens for his challenge was evidence of the failings of the league’s more forgiving approach to refereeing.
“We can’t go from one extreme, from volleyball or basketball last year, to rugby,” he said.
“I like the more lenient way – it’s more men’s football but that is a foul. It’s a clear foul – he goes straight through Bruno. We did suffer a few tackles, and that was part of their thinking early on it looked like.”
Despite insisting it was a foul, Solskjaer conceded that his side should have defended better after their protests were waved away.
“We should do better. If you don’t get a foul, we should make a block, put a body on the line and make sure there is no shot on target,” he said.
“I was always a big fan of letting things run – this is the Premier League,” he said, as quoted by the Telegraph.
“In this moment we have been the team that was getting the benefit for an aggressive attack. I’m happy not every touch is a foul. This is what the Premier League was famous for. It is more robust – it is a good thing for me.”
United will be looking to bounce back from their draw with Southampton when they travel to Wolves next Sunday.