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'Leave them to it': Solskjær criticises players for pressurising referee Attwell

Ole Gunnar Solskjær has criticised Manchester United and Chelsea players for putting pressure on Stuart Attwell while the referee checked the touchline monitor to decide whether Callum Hudson-Odoi had committed a handball in Sunday’s draw at Chelsea.

The official was advised by the VAR to consult the screen after he initially ruled against awarding a penalty. To United’s fury, he stuck with that view despite it appearing that Hudson-Odoi’s hand had stopped Mason Greenwood winning possession. Afterwards Solskjær claimed that “outside influences”, including an article on Chelsea’s website, meant his team were not being given decisions.

On Tuesday United’s manager was asked for his view on players gathering near Attwell as the referee made his judgment on the Hudson-Odoi incident. Chelsea’s César Azpilicueta and Hudson-Odoi had appeared to make their feelings known behind the referee, and United’s Luke Shaw and Marcus Rashford were among others in close proximity.

“I think the refs have a difficult enough job without extra pressure, so we should just leave them to it, make as many good decisions as they can,” Solskjær said. His captain, Harry Maguire, also remonstrated with Attwell following the VAR check.

Solskjær’s stance is a U-turn from one offered a month ago after key decisions in the 2-1 loss to Sheffield United went against his team when the VAR did not ask the referee to check the pitchside monitor. He said after that match: “Maybe we should have made more of a fuss about it. We are a bunch of nice lads: maybe we should have really made them look at it before the game started again.”

He shrugged off a question about the penalty incident at Chelsea. “That’s water under the bridge,” he said.

Edinson Cavani may be fit for Wednesday’s trip to Crystal Palace after a muscle problem.

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