Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hits back at Jurgen Klopp with 'facts' comment
Solskjaer appeared to be referencing Rafa Benitez's infamous 'facts' rant
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has responded to Jurgen Klopp's comments about the number of penalties awarded to Manchester United over the course of the last two years.
The Liverpool boss was left frustrated by his side's 1-0 defeat to Southampton on Monday night, where he felt the referee should have awarded the Premier League champions a penalty. The result means United can replace Liverpool as league leaders if they avoid defeat in their game in hand at Burnley next week.
Speaking after full-time at St Mary's, Klopp criticised Andre Marriner's decision not to give a spot-kick for a challenge on Sadio Mane by Kyle Walker-Peters, and made reference to the number of penalties awarded to United in comparison to Liverpool.
Ahead of United's Carabao Cup semi-final against Manchester City, Solskjaer has hit back by suggesting other managers are trying to influence officials. The United boss appeared to mock Rafa Benitez for his infamous 'facts' rant, made when the Spaniard was in charge of Liverpool in 2009.
"And that's a fact," Solskjaer said when asked about the number of decisions given to his side. "It's a fact that we've got more than him but I don't know how many penalties they've had
"I don't count how many penalties they have, so if they want to spend time on worrying about when we get fouled in the box, I don't spend time on that.
"I can't talk on behalf of other managers, why they say things like this."
Back in 2009, Benitez went off on then-United boss Alex Ferguson in a press conference, where he implied that United had got favourable penalty calls, fixtures and rest periods. He said 'facts' six times during his long statement and it was seen by many as another example of Ferguson drawing a rival manager into some mind-games.
The United managed then referred to Chelsea boss Frank Lampard making similar comments ahead of last season's FA Cup semi-final between the two sides.
"Obviously I felt it worked last year in the semi-final in the FA Cup, because Frank spoke about it and we had a nailed-on penalty that we should have had that we didn’t get, so maybe it's a way of influencing referees.
"I don’t know but I don’t worry about that. When they foul our players it's a penalty. It's just when it's inside the box."
United will play Watford in the FA Cup after their game with City before the league game at Turf Moor. After that, they travel to Anfield for a game which could - even at such an early stage in the season - have major ramifications for the destination of this season's league title.