Ole Gunnar Solskjaer warned his Manchester United players about Manchester City’s dirty tactics ahead of the Manchester derby.
It is something that has been previously pinned on Pep Guardiola’s teams, even though he hit back at Solskjaer’s comments claiming to have never asked his players to foul an opponent, as per the Guardian.
Tactical fouls happen quickly in order to avoid yellow cards and City have done this more often since Guardiola arrival in 2016.
It seems iniviatable now with the title race at risk that City will do their utmost to push boundaries and con the referee on Wednesday night. And United need to be prepared for that.
Guardiola, of course, is oblivious to it all.
Though Twitter doesn’t forget as one user recalled an incident from Manchester City’s documentary series on Amazon Prime showing the City manager give a certain instruction.
See tweet from @utdxtra below.
— United Xtra (@utdxtra) April 23, 2019
By making an issue of City getting away with the use of tactical fouls in games, Solskjaer not only warned his players of an approach City are likely to take into the game, but it should also be a wake-up call for fourth officials in the Premier League to act more frequently.
When United host City in the Premier League tonight, you’d hope to see Guardiola’s men penalised for using such methods.
Not every tactical foul will warrant a booking but if it’s persistent the referee should intervene.
Former Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg writes a column for the Daily Mail.
It starts with a suggestion Solskjaer has took a page from Sir Alex Ferguson’s book by using mindgames ahead of the Manchester derby.
“I have seen Solskjaer’s comments about City using tactical fouls to disrupt play when they lose possession, and he has a point,” Clattenburg wrote. “They break at such speed and are so expansive that they are left exposed when they lose the ball.
“City midfielder Fernandinho, in particular, is guilty of these cynical fouls. But then so are all teams in certain situations. Look at United — Nemanja Matic is similar to Fernandinho in that he breaks up play through whatever means he can, that’s his job.
“As a referee you are aware of this but you will ignore the pre-match comments, they have no bearing on how you handle the game.”
A referee has to say the last part — that they won’t be effected by any pre-game comments.
But if this is known by referees throughout the league, why is nothing being done about it? Perhaps Solskjaer rattled some cobwebs and will now have more people watching out for City’s dirty tactics.