Former Premier League referee sends Man Utd fans ‘problem’ message after Man City defeat

A controversial VAR decision turned the tide during Sunday afternoon’s fesity derby meeting between Manchester United and Manchester City.
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Manchester United cannot put a painful derby day defeat down to a refereeing error, says former Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher.

The Red Devils were humbled at Old Trafford by Pep Guardiola's treble-winning Manchester City side once again on Sunday afternoon as the Sky Blues put three past the hosts. Talisman Erling Haaland bagged a brace before teeing up Phil Foden to tap home a third with 10 minutes left to play.

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The always-feisty meeting proved to be a one-sided affair in the end but Erik ten Hag's side were quicker out the blocks in the opening stages, fashioning a handful of decent opportunities early on. The direction of the game then changed in the 26th minute when summer signing Rasmus Hojlund was deemed to have obstructed Rodri in the penalty box during a free-kick.

Referee Paul Tierney didn't see anything wrong with the challenge but VAR intervened and sent the official to the screen to inevitably then overturn his initial decision. Analysing the moment on Ref Watch with Sky Sports, Gallagher said: "It's difficult to say it's not a foul. People will ask how many we're going to give now if you see this given. Look at that, you can't say it's not a foul. The problem will be is that going to be given week in, week out?

"But it is a foul. It was looked at a long time. Michael Oliver was the VAR and he studied it and took a long time. I heard him say to the referee 'you've got to stop the game now, I'm going to recommend you review it'. He thought it was a clear and obvious error because he sent him to the screen. By doing that, the referee then makes the decisions which sit better and are more comfortable."

Erling Haaland converted the spot kick to open the scoring for Man City (Image: Getty Images)Erling Haaland converted the spot kick to open the scoring for Man City (Image: Getty Images)
Erling Haaland converted the spot kick to open the scoring for Man City (Image: Getty Images)

Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag refused to get drawn into a debate on the incident but acknowledged that the decision 'changed the game' when speaking after the defeat. The manager said: "First half, we played very well. The game plan went on how we wanted. We defended very good. They almost didn't create - one big save from Andre in that start. We had two or three breaks, we had to take benefit from it.

"We have to take more from it, but the penalty is changing the game. I don't have a comment on it. I don't have a comment."

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