Former Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg has accused Jurgen Klopp of trying to influence the decisions of match officials ahead of their weekend clash against the Red Devils’ through comments about amount of penalties awarded to Manchester United.
The German tactician had opined that he feels United are treated differently when it comes to penalties after his side were denied what he termed a “clear penalty” in the 1-0 defeat to Southampton last Monday.
However, Clattenburg did hit back at the Reds’ boss by accusing him following in the footsteps of United legend Sir Alex Ferguson.
The 45-year-old match official admitted that Ferguson’s presence at Manchester United often bought the club favourable decisions which he noted had gone away with the Scot and no longer present in the League.
Mark Clattenburg claims that the German must be getting worried if he is resorting to the type of mind games that had become synonymous with United legend Sir Alex Ferguson. He added that Klopp should take a look at his own players before passing judgement on others.
“There were a couple of things to take from Klopp’s comments,” Clattenburg wrote in the Daily Mail. “First, he sounds like a hypocrite if he is suggesting United’s players are looking to win penalties. The likes of Mo Salah and [Sadio] Mane are just as capable of employing similar tactics.
“He is clearly getting edgy, though, because not since Fergie have we seen such a blatant attempt to influence a referee ahead of a big game. Klopp wasn’t doing this last season when Liverpool were winning every week.
“He does not like losing, he never has. He gets prickly. But he is wrong to suggest there is an aura around United that sees them given favourable decisions. There used to be when Fergie was there, but that has eased massively since he left.
“It was mind games — an attempt to influence referee Paul Tierney and get inside his head before a huge match between Liverpool and United this Sunday.”
Clattenburg conceded that United’s players can go down too easily in the box – just as Liverpool’s can – but insists that there is no “conspiracy” playing out behind the scenes.
“Klopp was correct when he said United have won more penalties in two years than Liverpool have in his five and a half at Anfield. He was smart, because his comments could not get him into trouble with the authorities,” he said.
“But let’s be clear: there is no conspiracy on the part of referees and officials. Was Klopp insinuating there is? Or was he suggesting United have players who are encouraged to dive? If his intention was the former, then I’ve got no time for that. It simply is not true.
“But if he was highlighting the ease with which some United players go down in the penalty area then, yes, I believe he was making a valid point. Even if it does ignore similar suspicions about some of his stars.”