Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has suggested the assistant referee raising a flag for offside may have affected his players in the lead up to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's equaliser for Arsenal during Monday night’s Premier League draw at Old Trafford.
The Gunners capitalised on a mistake from United defender Axel Tuanzebe, before Aubameyang chipped the ball over goalkeeper David de Gea. But the flag was raised and the goal was initially disallowed, until a VAR check showed that Aubameyang was onside and re-awarded it.
Although he admitted that Arsenal deserved the goal, Solskjaer did question whether the linesman should have delayed signalling as there was hesitancy when his players saw the flag.
“Ashley Young has put his hand up, maybe he hesitated a little bit. He could have got a block in and helped David de Gea,” the United boss is quoted as saying by the Daily Mail.
“It’s no excuse as it’s a perfectly good goal. The linesman probably should have kept his flag down but there you go,” he added.
“It makes an impact on the situation by raising his flag. He could have waited and had a look later. VAR is a work in progress. I am still in favour of it. Arsenal deserved the goal.”
Perhaps of more concern for Solskjaer and United fans is that this was another game this season in which the team had taken the lead and failed to see it through – the same thing happened against both Wolves and Southampton in August.
Solskjaer praised the ‘positive attitude’ on display, with United taking a deserved lead through a fine finish from home-grown midfielder Scott McTominay.
“We’ve got to learn to make these 1-0s into 2-0s, 3-0s, 4-0s - we need a second goal. We can’t just put the brake on, like we did in the second half and let the other team come in. We’re getting the first goal and we need the next one,” Solskjaer said in further comments via ManUtd.com.
With just two wins from their opening seven Premier League games of the season, United have to beat Newcastle in their next outing on Sunday. The Magpies have won just once so far this campaign and have scored only four goals across their seven fixtures.