Solskjaer: Certain manager costing us penalties

Manchester United are not being awarded penalties this season after a "certain manager" last term expressed concern they were being given too many, coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said on Friday.

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.   -  REUTERS

Manchester United are not being awarded penalties this season after a "certain manager" the last term expressed concern they were being given too many, coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said on Friday.

Solskjaer criticised officials last week for denying Cristiano Ronaldo two "stonewall" penalties in the 2-1 league win at West Ham United.

Liverpool boss Juergen Klopp earlier this year said United have had more spot-kicks in two years under Solskjaer than Liverpool have in his entire five-and-a-half-year reign.

United was awarded 11 penalties last season in the Premier League, second only to Leicester City's 12.

"We just have to hope we get what we deserve. We should have had three pens in the last two games. There was a certain manager who worried about us getting pens last year and, after that, the decisions were different to give," said Solskjaer.

"I've seen a big difference since then on. We'll leave it to the refs and hopefully they'll make the right calls very soon."

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Speaking ahead of United's game at home to Aston Villa on Saturday, Solskjaer said he was reasonably happy with the start to the season, adding his side had a foundation to build on.

"It's early doors but, it's important the first two months you're not giving teams a head start and so far 13 points, decent return, scored quite a few goals, still things to work on and, there'll be difficult challenges ahead."

United are unbeaten in the Premier League but was knocked out of the League Cup by West Ham United in the third round at Old Trafford this week.

Striker Edinson Cavani is set to return to the squad after recovering from injury with Solskjaer saying he was hopeful the Uruguayan could strike a formidable partnership with Ronaldo.

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"It's exciting to see those two together... we see teams dropping deep against us, not giving space in behind, and they're two boys you'd like to see in that scenario. I can see those two working well together," said the Norwegian.

Earlier on Friday, Villa boss, Dean Smith said his team would not be daunted by the prospect of playing United.

"They have title aspirations and, a club like (United) should have... our job is to go toe-to-toe with them like we did against Chelsea," Smith told reporters.

Villa was level at 1-1 with Chelsea after 90 minutes in the League Cup third round on Wednesday but lost 4-3 on penalties.

United are third in the Premier League table with four wins and a draw but level on points with leaders Chelsea and Liverpool. Villa, searching for their third league win of the season, sit in 10th place with seven points.

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