Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Jose Mourinho clashed over a controversial VAR goal reversal in Manchester United‘s 3-1 Premier League victory over Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday, trading barbs that ended with the Portuguese coach slamming the former Norway striker for accusing Spurs forward Son Heung-Min of conning the referee.
The opening half-hour of the match was turgid, but things livened up considerably in the 34th minute when United opened up Tottenham’s defence with Edinson Cavani shooting past Hugo Lloris after being played in by Paul Pogba.
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United’s celebrations were cut short, though, as referee Chris Kavanagh was instructed by the VAR to check a monitor to see whether McTominay had caught Son in the face with his arm in the build-up. It had looked accidental, but Kavanagh thought otherwise, much to the frustration of United’s players.
“The game has gone. Game has absolutely gone,” Solskjaer told Sky Sports of the decision.
“If that’s a clear and obvious error, it’s an obvious error he had to look at it. It was a perfectly good goal.
“We shouldn’t be conned. I have to say, if my son stays down for three minutes and he needs his 10 mates to help him up, he won’t get any food. We weren’t conned, the referee was.”
Hearing of Solskjaer’s comments about Son after the match, Mourinho aimed some pointed words at the United manager, saying he was “very disappointed” with the message.
“First of all, let me tell you something. I’m very, very surprised that after the comments that Ole made on Sonny, you don’t ask me about it,” Mourinho told reporters.
“If it’s me, telling that player A, B or C from another club, if it was my son I wouldn’t give him dinner tonight, what would be the reaction of that? It’s very, very sad.
“In relation to that, I just want to say that Sonny is very lucky that his father is a better person than Ole. I am a father. I think as a father you have always to feed your kids.
“Doesn’t matter what they do. If you have to steal to feed your kids, you steal. I’m very, very disappointed.”
Earlier, Mourinho told Sky Sports he was confused over the application of the rules.
“I don’t know anything anymore. In football, you don’t know anything anymore. I watched Fulham-Wolves, I don’t understand anything anymore. Sometimes you get [decisions], sometimes you don’t get, but it’s very difficult to analyse, even as a coach. I don’t know how to comment.”
To rub salt into United’s wounds, Son opened the scoring shortly afterwards following a long spell of Tottenham possession which ended with Harry Kane playing in Lucas Moura whose pass was turned past Dean Henderson by the South Korean.
McTominay called the decision a “total injustice.”
“Personally I’m not a fan of VAR, but the referees have to make decisions. It was a case of keeping calm. Everybody makes mistakes and that’s part and parcel of it,” he said.
“[The disallowed goal] was a total injustice, but you just have to get on with the game. Getting three points in a really difficult game was pleasing.”
Solskjaer said the overturned goal “kick-started” his team and they were much better after the break with Lloris denying Bruno Fernandes with a fine low save and Pogba close to back-heeling an equaliser.
“That kick-started us. [Before the goal] we had played like a team who had played in Europe on a Thursday night [last time out],” Solskjaer said.
“Top reaction, we played some great stuff second half. We felt the injustice and we showed good character to come back. We can’t let those decisions ruin this good season for us.
“The goals we scored were excellent. Edinson shows why he’s a No. 9. Fred even scores, that just shows us how good we were.”
Information from Reuters was used in this report.