Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says Aston Villa’s winning goal should not have stood after Manchester United slumped to a second straight home defeat.
Kortney Hause had put Villa ahead with an 88th-minute header before United’s Bruno Fernandes missed a stoppage-time penalty after Hause had handled.
Solskjaer claims the goal that earned Villa a first Old Trafford win for 12 years was offside.
“You can take it when it’s a good goal against you,” said the United boss.
“But that’s offside. Watkins touched David [de Gea] as Hause heads the ball.”
Solskjaer said there was no consistency in decisions and cited last week’s game between Brighton and Leicester, when the Foxes had two efforts ruled out with Harvey Barnes in the eyeline of Seagulls goalkeeper Robert Sanchez in both instances.
“How that’s a goal and Leicester have not got their goals,” he added. “I just can’t see the consistency.”
Former England striker Alan Shearer added on Match of the Day: “I don’t think it should be called offside but there is an argument from what happened at Leicester last week. The difference being the assistant flagged last week but didn’t flag this week. We just want consistency.”
United were left frustrated as they failed to score for a second straight game – after Wednesday’s 1-0 defeat to West Ham in the Carabao Cup – before Villarreal’s Champions League visit on Wednesday, a repeat of the 2021 Europa League final which United lost on penalties.
“When you lose games it’s a concern,” Solskjaer said.
“I know they will fight for each other and fight for the shirt and we will be ready for that one.”
Fernandes or Ronaldo – who will take United’s next penalty?
On a bitterly frustrating day for United, they wasted a chance to salvage a point when Fernandes blazed his 93rd-minute spot-kick high over the bar in front of the Stretford End.
Since making his Red Devils debut on 1 February 2020, Fernandes has taken 23 penalties and scored 21 of them at club level.
In the same period, Ronaldo has scored 18 penalties from 22.
Ronaldo, who failed to score for the first time since rejoining United, stood behind his fellow Portuguese when Fernandes picked up the ball and placed it on the spot.
“Bruno has been excellent and Cristiano is probably the one who has scored the most penalties in world football,” added Solskjaer.
“We’ve got great takers and it’s a missed opportunity for us to get a point.”
Solskjaer was unhappy about Villa’s players surrounding Fernandes before he took the penalty.
“Sometimes it just doesn’t go your way. Bruno is such a good penalty taker and today you would have backed him with your mortgage I would guess.
“What I didn’t like was the way they crowded the referee, the penalty spot and Bruno and tried to affect him.
“It clearly worked but that’s not great to see.”
‘Solskjaer has got to win a trophy’
Not only do United need to return to winning ways, they need to demonstrate they are serious contenders for a trophy this season following an expensive summer in the transfer market.
Having suffered an early exit from the Carabao Cup, they need to get their Champions League campaign back on course against Villarreal after losing their opening group game against Young Boys.
United have lost three of their past four matches in all competitions and another defeat against Villarreal will increase the pressure on United – without a trophy since 2017 – and Solskjaer.
Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville told the BBC this week that Solskjaer “has to deliver” this season.
He said: “There’s no doubt that Ronaldo’s a make or break signing for Ole because with Ronaldo in the squad, he has to win.
“You can’t have any excuses. You bring in one of the best players of all time to your club, you’ve got the Jadon Sancho signing, the Raphael Varane signing at centre back, you’ve got to deliver.”
Solskjaer will be hoping for good news on the injury front as he prepares for Villarreal’s visit, after defenders Luke Shaw and Harry Maguire both limped out of the Villa game and will have scans to assess their injuries.