David Moyes risked getting himself into hot water with the FA after the game against Sunderland after he declared in an interview with SkySports that “We're having to play them [referees] as well as the opposition at the moment." He also went on to say that “It's really terrible. We're actually beginning to laugh at them."
The statements come on top an incident last month where Moyes described a refereeing decision as ‘scandalous’ when Manchester United were denied a late penalty following a Hugo Lloris challenge on Ashley Young.
Moyes was irritated by decisions leading to both of Sunderland’s goals. The first goal followed a free-kick being played back across goal from Wes Brown, before Ryan Giggs diverted the ball into his own net. Moyes however was less than happy about the award of the free kick in the first place. He said that he couldn’t see how it was an offence, but conceded that in any case it certainly didn’t excuse United’s poor defending for the goal.
It was however the second goal, scored by Borini from the penalty spot that particularly drew the Scot’s wrath. Substitute Adam Johnson went to ground under a clumsy challenge from Tom Cleverley for the offence, and the decision appeared to be awarded on the advice of the linesman. Of the incident, Moyes declared "How could the linesman give that [the penalty]? The ref was looking straight at it but the linesman would have to have seen straight through Patrice Evra to give it.” Clearly, the linesman didn’t give the penalty, the referee did. A linesman can only advise, all decisions are the referees, but the anger at the perceived injustice clearly burnt bright. Moyes went on to say that “We had a player booked for a similar thing that they got a penalty for the other day.” Although not saying it overtly, it was a clear reference to the booking of Januzaj for perceived simulation recently.
Non-Manchester United fans will probably feel little sympathy for Moyes or Manchester United. Outside of the Old Trafford faithful, there’s a widely held belief – be it valid or not – that United always seemed often get the rub of the green on refereeing decisions, the incident however probably reflects the increasing pressure that Moyes is under as United suffered their third defeat in a row for the first time in over a dozen years. Way back in 2001, when it last occurred the club were playing out end of season fixtures with the title already secured so this situation could be argued to be far worse.
Many United fans have probably wished that Moyes would be more like Ferguson, and Sir Alex was always keen on a bit of ‘referee’ talk where he thought it would benefit the club, this may however e an entirely different situation. Moyes is clearly feeling beleaguered and whether his complaints are justified or not, the danger is always that blaming officials is often interpreted as a way of avoiding a mea culpa situation.
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