Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 23 November 2019

Nuno and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer call for solution after another night of VAR controversy

Play was held up for a couple of minutes to check on Ruben Neves' second-half equaliser against Manchester United at Molineux

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Nuno Espirito Santo waded in on the VAR debate with both managers criticising the technology following Wolves' 1-1 draw against Manchester United at Molineux.

Making its debut in the English top flight this season, the Video Assistant Referee system deprived Wolves of a goal against Leicester City in their opening 0-0 away draw last week and the home fans were incandescent when play was held up for a couple of minutes to check on Ruben Neves' second-half equaliser against Manchester United.

Though the goal was allowed, and a possible offside by Joao Moutinho discounted, Wolves manager Nuno still fretted afterwards that VAR was killing the game's passion.

"What I'm afraid is we will be afraid to celebrate the goal," he said. "This energy at Molineux, the sound, this atmosphere, you cannot lose it. They have to find a solution for it, please do it."

United counterpart Solskjaer said a VAR review had been justified for Neves' goal, but said that officials needed to come to a decision more promptly.

"We want it decided quickly but, of course, they are massive decisions," he said. "I'd rather have it the correct one than the wrong one, and make it in 15 seconds. The quicker it goes, the better it goes."

United had gone ahead through a first-half goal from Anthony Martial before Neves' stunning strike went in off the bar and Paul Pogba then missed a penalty for the visitors.

But the main takeaway from the match was the over riding sense that the technology, implemented with the view of getting more of the match-deciding decisions correct, has only exacerbated problems for managers, players and supporters.

The new Premier League season is only two weeks old and Nuno and Solskjaer became the latest dissenting voices of VAR's impact.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola bemoaned the inconsistent use of the technology in City's 2-2 draw with Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday.

Gabriel Jesus saw a stoppage-time winner disallowed on review for a handball by Aymeric Laporte while Guardiola claimed City were denied a penalty in the first half when Rodri was hauled to the floor by Erik Lamela.

While VAR was the major talking point from Monday's match, Solskjaer also felt moved to defend United midfielder Pogba for squandering the chance to snatch three points at Molineux.

The French midfielder took over spot-kick duties from Marcus Rashford but saw his effort saved by Wolves keeper Rui Patricio.

It was the fourth missed penalty by Pogba since the start of last season. Having won the penalty after being fouled in the area by Wolves defender Conor Coady the World Cup winner appeared to tell Rashford that he wanted to take it, even though his United teammate had scored from the spot against Chelsea last weekend.

United manager Solskjaer said he allows both Pogba and Rashford to take spot kicks.

"The two of them are designated the penalty shooters and it's up to them there and then who feels 'this is mine'," he said.

"Sometimes players just feel they are confident enough to score. Paul has scored so many penalties for us and today Rui Patricio made a good save.

"The two of them have been very confident. I like players with confidence and the feeling that 'I can do this'."

Rashford confirmed Pogba had said he wanted to take the kick and said he had no issues with that.

"Paul wanted to take it, it's that simple," the England striker said. "Everybody can miss a penalty. He's scored countless penalties for us so it's normal to miss one.

"I took one last week so for me it's no problem for him to take one this week.

"It's unfortunate he didn't score but it's not on him, it's as a team and we take it forward to the next game."

Solskjaer also hinted that Alexis Sanchez may move from Old Trafford before the close of the European transfer window at the end of the month, saying: "There are a few weeks for international transfers to go through but at the moment he's our player."

Updated: August 20, 2019 01:46 PM

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