Mark Clattenburg has agreed with Jurgen Klopp that some of Manchester United’s players do go down with ‘ease’ in the penalty box, as reported by the Daily Mail (via the Express).
The former Premier League referee was responding to the German’s concerns about the number of penalties Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have been earning of late.
“Let’s be clear: there is no conspiracy on the part of referees and officials. Was Klopp insinuating there is? Or was he suggesting United have players who are encouraged to dive?” the 45-year-old said. “If his intention was the former, then I’ve got no time for that. It simply is not true.“
“But if he was highlighting the ease with which some United players go down in the penalty area then, yes, I believe he was making a valid point. Even if it does ignore similar suspicions about some of his stars,” Clattenburg added. “I have watched United closely this season and analysed each of their 11 penalty awards. There are as many as five where I believe contact was invited or even initiated by the United player.”
We’re not too sure about the ex-Premier League official’s assertion about Liverpool players and simulation, however, it’s somewhat concerning that, in the Englishman’s eyes, just fewer than half of United’s penalties earned this season were somewhat dubious.
While contact may be exaggerated on occasion by most sides in the league, it’s a somewhat worrying trend as far as the Manchester-based side are concerned.
One might suspect that, should the issue persist, Solskjaer’s men will eventually be penalised for their actions, but we can only hope that the upcoming tie will be decided on the pitch rather than mostly on the spot.
Given the frequency in which such deception has been highlighted, we’d expect Paul Tierney to be keeping a particularly close eye on United’s stars the minute the whistle blows at Anfield this coming Sunday.