By Keith Hackett

27th Sep, 2021 | 9:00pm

Ex-Premier League referee slams 'irresponsible' Solskjaer after Man United-Liverpool reveal and predicts major change

Keith Hackett has hit back after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer suggested Man United have not received many penalties this season because of Jurgen Klopp.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the ex-FIFA and Premier League referee told Solskjaer to “stick to the facts” and stop playing “mind games”.

As quoted by Sky Sports ahead of Man United’s game with Aston Villa, the 48-year-old said “a certain manager” was worried they were getting too many penalties last season and that may be the reason why his side had not been awarded one before Saturday.

Liverpool boss Klopp complained last season that United had received more penalties in the previous two years than his whole Anfield reign.

The Red Devils won their first spot-kick of the season in the dying moments against Villa but Bruno Fernandes missed.

Asked whether Solskjaer’s theory had any truth to it, Hackett told Football Insider correspondent Connor Whitley: “Absolutely not.

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“I don’t think referees are influenced by what managers say. In Alex Ferguson’s days with the looking of the watch and those antics, often the referee doesn’t see it.

“There are some referees that don’t look at the media, at all. So, no, look, don’t blame the referee for results. Just stick to the facts as you see them.

“Referees can only give penalties when there are offences in the penalty area.

“He got a penalty at the weekend. Probably he should now organise Cristiano Ronaldo to take the penalties. That’s his problem, not mine. But I suspect we’ll see that with the next penalty.

“Maybe he thinks mind games are a good thing to do and he’s on the mind games now.

“The whole aspect of pre-judging what a referee might or might not do and who the referee is, is an area policed by the FA and the Premier League and he has to be responsible with his comments. Don’t try and influence the referee before the game.”

In other news, Kieran Maguire has revealed that Man United are set to sanction an astonishing “£387million” payout.