Man Utd legend agrees with Wolves boss Gary O’Neil after penalty controversy at Old Trafford

Wolves were left disappointed by a referee decision that went against them in the closing stages of their Premier League defeat at Manchester United.
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Wolverhampton Wanderers manager Gary O’Neil received the backing of Manchester United legend Gary Neville after his side were on the wrong end of a controversial decision in the latter stages of their 1-0 defeat at Old Trafford.

Despite only being appointed last week, O’Neil watched on as his side took the game to their hosts and made a whole host of chances throughout a promising 90 minutes. The likes of Matheus Cunha, Pedro Neto and substitute Hee-Chan Hwang all went close to grabbing a goal and putting their side in sight of what would have been a deserved win at the home of the 13-time Premier League champions.

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However, there was heartbreak for O’Neil and his players as Raphael Varane grabbed the only goal of the game with 15 minutes remaining - and their mood was not helped by referee Simon Hooper’s decision not to award a penalty in injury-time when United keeper Andre Onana collided with Wolves substitute Sasa Kalajdzic.

The newly-appointed Wolves boss was booked in the aftermath of the incident after making his frustrations known to the match officials - and his annoyance had failed to subside as he assessed what he had witnessed during the closing stages of the game.

He told Sky Sports: “I thought live it was a penalty, it looked like the goalkeeper almost took our centre forward’s head off, that’s what it looked like live and when I watch it back, it looks the same.

“So (I am) really, really surprised. I think it’s a foul, I think if you go for the ball and clatter into a player that hard, I think it has to be a foul but I’m not overly surprised we didn’t get it to be honest. As he (Hooper) jogged over towards us I thought he was going to the (VAR) screen - but as it turns out, he booked me and not Onana).

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“I think the on-field referee, it’s a really difficult decision for them, but we can’t just leave it because they’ve said no. If we all think it’s a penalty, and I’m not sure what you guys think in the studio, but a lot of messages from a lot of people are coming through saying it’s a stonewall penalty.”

Red Devils legend Neville was on punditry duties for Sky Sports’ coverage of the game and he admitted his former club had had a fortunate escape after their new number one made a ‘calculated’ decision to make contact with Kalajdzic.

He said: “The reason I thought it was a penalty was because I don’t think Onana was anywhere near the ball. I think he was always under it, he was never getting there, so I think he could have made a decision before he jumped. I always used to say if my keeper was coming out, take everything, take the lot, and he’s done that.

“He’s done that, but the problem is he is nowhere near the ball, he’s in a calculated fashion decided he’s going to disturb the attacking player as much as he can and put him off - so I think it’s a penalty because he wasn’t near enough the ball. If he’s arrived at the same time, and he had just missed the ball, that’s a different story. I think he knew what he was doing.”

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