Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has suggested Frank Lampard’s ‘influencing’ of officials had a big impact on Manchester United’s FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea at the weekend.
Moments before Olivier Giroud had opened the scoring deep into stoppage-time of the first half, Anthony Martial appeared to be brought down by Kurt Zouma but referee Mike Dean ignored the protests, with Chelsea extending their lead in the second half.
Prior to the game, Lampard had told his players to be wary of Bruno Fernandes ‘dangling a leg’ and questioned a number of ‘strange’ VAR decisions.
Solskjaer had reacted angrily at his press conference the next day, claiming a ‘narrative’ was being created, and he felt that proved to be exactly the case at Wembley, with Chelsea’s fouls going unpunished and Zouma escaping a red.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Solskjaer said: ‘What did my [son] Noah say the other day? It was 21 fouls and no bookings the other way.
‘I don’t want to go into it again, but while you’re at it, Anthony’s on the ball and he [Zouma] kicks through his foot.
‘That’s a red card and a sending off. But that’s how small the margins are in football.
‘But it seemed that little bit of influencing the officials worked. I don’t want to start criticising because it sounds like it’s sour grapes but it isn’t.’
Addressing United’s top-four hopes ahead of their final two matches against West Ham, tonight, and Leicester City, on Sunday, Solskjaer added: ‘We know that we’ve got two games, we’ve got a great chance to achieve something that no one believed we could do.
‘We’ve come so far as a team, we’re very close now to the end of the season so there’s no point leaving any energy in the dressing room, now it’s going to be left on the pitch.’
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