Referees Boss Allegedly Admits Wolves Deserved Penalty, says Gary O’Neill

    Premier League referees boss Jon Moss has apologized to Gary O’Neill and told him Wolves were denied a ‘blatant’ stoppage time penalty in their 1-0 Premier League defeat to Manchester United at ” Old Trafford, according to the Wolves boss.

    United’s debutant goalkeeper Andre Onana crashed into Sasha Kalajdzic in stoppage time, but Simon Hooper did not react and VAR Michael Salisbury deemed there was no foul, with an incredulous O’Neal instead receiving a warning for his reaction.

    O’Neal said after the match that he though Onana tried to cut off Kalajdzic’s head and then revealed that he received an immediate apology from Moss.

    “Having just spoken to Jon Moss, fairly honestly, he said straight out that this is an egregious fine and should have been issued,” O’Neill said.

    “Sometimes I feel bad. I spent a lot of time with him trying to understand the new rules and how not to get into the penalty box, which I failed at.

    “He said it was clear and obvious and he can’t believe the referee didn’t give it and he can’t believe the VAR system didn’t intervene. To be honest, it probably made me feel even worse, because when you find out that you are right, you feel even worse because you left with nothing.

    United boss Erik ten Hag tried to downplay the incident, but he was basically the only one who believed the officials made the right decision.

    “When VAR looked at it and decided not to give it, we were of course glad,” said the Dutchman. “It’s about the referee and VAR. I think the two players came together and Andre didn’t get in the way because first there was a touch of the ball and then Andre came in.”

    The controversial decision was not the only thing that left the impression that United were lucky to score three points in their first Premier League match, but Rafael Varane’s decisive 76th-minute header in a tough home game.

    Since O’Neal was only in charge for a few days, the Wolves impressed with their attacking intent. They registered 23 attempts on goal, the most for any visiting team at Old Trafford since Chelsea had 25 in November 2005, another match that ended in a 1–0 victory for United.

    Scoring goals was an all-too-familiar problem for Wolverhampton last season, but O’Neal was encouraged by what he saw.

    “A huge credit to the guys,” O’Neal said. “There was some negativity around this place but they did what we asked them to do and went toe to toe with the top side in a difficult place and they are disappointed.

    “For the number of shots and expected goals, we deserved at least a point …

    “The big picture and where we want to take the band tonight is a big step in four days. Coming to a place like this, things could have gone very differently.”

    United struggled to find any flow and were second in scoring in the second half until Aaron Wan-Bissaka grabbed the ball from Bruno Fernandez and lifted the ball for Varane to nod.

    “It was a tough game,” Ten Hag said. “I think we can do better with the ball. We proved it last season and also in pre-season, but pre-season is not the season, and when the championship starts, the opponents are more aggressive.

    “Our decision making could have been better and wasn’t aggressive enough from that point of view, but there are a lot of positives. We fought for our lives and survived with three points, so great.”

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