Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has denied that his players are attempting to con the referee into awarding penalties during matches.
The Red Devils have received 13 penalties this season, one short of a new record for spot-kicks awarded to a single club over the course of a Premier League season.
Ahead of his side’s FA Cup tie against Man Utd, Chelsea manager Frank Lampard suggested that Solskjaer’s players are actively seeking their apparent good fortune.
Lampard pointed towards an incident where Solskjaer’s side won a penalty against Aston Villa, despite attacker Bruno Fernandes appearing to foul Villa defender Ezri Konsa, a decision which the Premier League match centre later confirmed that VAR should have overturned.
This incident was used by Lampard as an example of how United can hurt Chelsea, with the former England international arguing: “Fernandes is very clever in his movement. We saw that at Aston Villa to make something feel like a penalty where maybe it even isn’t.”
“As a player we can talk about VAR decisions and whether they’re right or wrong. But if a player is going to dangle a leg and not move their feet then you obviously do leave yourself open to penalties, VAR or no VAR.”
Solskjaer has since refuted Lampard’s claims during his pre-match media duties, rejecting the idea that there was anything questionable about the decisions that his side had been given.
“I’ll defend my players 100%,” said Solskjaer.
“Some ankles could have been broken this season. I just want them to be protected. If you’ve got quick feet like Dan James, Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood you’ll get tackled outside and inside the box.
“We’ve earned our right to any decision this season. We’ve had decisions overturned from being against us to being for us which means the initial decision was against us.”