Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has taken another not-so-subtle jab at Tottenham rival Jose Mourinho as he previewed his side’s Carabao Cup clash with Brighton.
The two Premier League bosses have been caught in a war of words after Solskjaer took a dig at Mourinho following Spurs’ Europa League win over Macedonian side Shkendija.
The north London club’s head coach had to request the goals be changed against Shkendija before kick-off with the original posts having been 5cm too low.
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United then saw Brighton hit the woodwork five times against them in their 3-2 Premier League win over the Seagulls on Saturday.
And afterwards Solskjaer: “We have to be grateful Jose is not here to measure the goalposts, it might have been smaller goals!”
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Mourinho fired back a few days later, hitting out at United’s penalty record with his former club having been awarded the most spot-kicks in a single season last term with 14.
Bruno Fernandes’ 100th-minute penalty, given after the full-time whistle had first been blown, also gave them victory over Brighton.
Mourinho said: “I don’t think he [Solskjaer] will concern himself with the size of the goal but the size of the penalty box. He will not play with an 18 yard box, only 22 yards.”
And now Solskjaer has taken another shot at Mourinho as United prepare to face Brighton again in the fourth round of the Carabao Cup on Wednesday night (7.45pm kick-off).
Spurs were given a bye to this stage of the competition after Leyton Orient could not contest their third-round fixture due to a spate of positive coronavirus tests. The decision was taken to cancel the fixture rather than try to reschedule it.
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And quizzed about progress in the Carabao Cup, the Norwegian coach joked: “It depends how you want to get there. You’ve got teams getting there, even without playing, even to this round!”
But the United boss does agree with his predecessor in one regard – that the contentious handball law needs altering.
There have been a number of controversial penalty decisions in the Premier League in recent weeks with a stricter approach taken towards handball decisions.
Spurs’ Eric Dier was penalised by the new law, which was in force across Europe last season, at the weekend with Callum Wilson scoring from the spot to earn Newcastle a stoppage-time point despite Mourinho’s men dominating the match.
The Portuguese tactician refused to discuss the decision at length post-match but made his feelings towards the rule clear.
He said: “I don’t want to comment, I just don’t want to. I don’t have a message [for the International Football Association Board], I don’t have a message.”
Told that Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson believes the handball rule is ruining football, Moutinho added: “Mr Roy is our boss, the man with more experience, the man with the age, the man in the Premier League I always consider the eldest one, the boss, he has the status, the knowhow, respected by everyone. I live on him.”
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And Solskjaer said: “You can discuss it all day long, but we need some clarity on what’s a foul and what’s a penalty.
“Now it looks like you can chip a ball up into someone’s hand, like what happened to us against Crystal Palace, and Victor Lindelof got a penalty against him.
“Then the header against Tottenham, he [Eric Dier] has got no idea the ball hits him. You see the goals scored against West Brom at the end, is that not handball?
“We need to get that clarity. It’s a whole spectrum of things that aren’t normal.
“There have been so many changes and nuances to different rules. Back in the old days it seemed simpler.”
After United face Brighton on the south coast and Spurs take on Chelsea, both in the Carabao Cup, the two teams do battle in the league on Sunday (4.30pm kick-off).
Mourinho has yet to beat United with Spurs since being sacked as Red Devils boss in December 2018, losing 2-1 to Solskjaer’s side last year before a 1-1 draw in June after the league’s restart.
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