Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes the linesman was partly to blame for Arsenal’s VAR-awarded equaliser in Monday evening’s 1-1 draw at Old Trafford.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang cancelled out Scott McTominay’s first-half opener after some poor play from United allowed Bukayo Saka to feed the Gabon forward with a one-on-one chance.
He clipped the ball over David de Gea to finish, but the goal was quickly ruled out as the linesman had raised his flag in the build-up.
However, the official’s decision was overturned after a VAR review showed Aubameyang was several yards onside when Saka played the ball.
Solskjaer appeared unhappy with the goal on the touchline, and suggested after the match that the linesman should have kept his flag down to let play continue now that VAR can overturn incorrect decisions.
“Ashley [Young] certainly holds his hand up because he can look straight at the linesman,” said Solskjaer. “Maybe he hesitates a little bit.
“He could have probably got a block in and that probably would have helped David [de Gea] but that’s no consolation for us now because it’s a perfectly good goal for them.
“He probably should have kept the flag down. He made an impact on the situation by raising the flag.”
The United boss was also aggrieved that United were not awarded a penalty shortly before Aubameyang’s goal for a handball by Sead Kolasinac, which was not deemed an obvious mistake by referee Kevin Friend.
“Loads of the penalty decisions now the refs, if you don’t [give] it, you can’t go back and have it,” added the Norwegian. “But it’s a work in progress. I’m for the right decisions and they definitely deserved their goal.”
It was all too obvious in the first half an hour that this was a contest between two teams at a low ebb, with the first shot not arriving until the 29th minute.
The game improved thereafter but was lacking in quality throughout.
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Solskjaer was more animated than usual on the touchline, and he said: “I thought the first 15 or 20 minutes we could have been more direct, more positive. I just wanted the boys to grasp the moment.
“Half-time just came and we didn’t come out of the blocks second half. The first 15 minutes it was almost like we gifted them the initiative. After they scored the response was fantastic. I thought we put the game to them again.”
The result left United in 10th place in the Premier League with nine points from seven games – the first time they have failed to reach double figures by this stage for 30 years.
Solskjaer remains positive there are better times ahead, though, saying: “There’s many things that we look at and many things that give me a lot of confidence.
“We need to learn to win these games. We know that this team is going to be improving. I thought we saw some excellent performances from Scotty, Andreas [Pereira], you can see Axel [Tuanzebe] is going to be a top, top player, so some very positive things.”