It was the worst possible start to life as new Manchester United manager for Erik ten Hag as his new club began the Premier League campaign in disastrous fashion, losing both their opening encounters.
The Dutchman has since steadied the ship with the Red Devils currently fifth in the league, four points off fourth place with two games in hand.
They have tasted defeat only twice since October. While the Manchester Derby was a drubbing, the loss against Aston Villa away from home was a bitter pill to swallow.
Apart from lacklustre performances from a few players, the referee’s poor decision-making was another major factor behind the defeat.
As written about previously on The Peoples Person, referee Anthony Taylor had allowed the Villa players to advance the ball quite a few yards forward in a much better position after Luke Shaw‘s foul on Jacob Ramsey.
That was not all, as the resultant free-kick saw the referee, instead of measuring out 10 yards from the ball for United’s wall to stand, put his vanishing spray more than 13 yards from the ball.
PGMOL accept that referee Anthony Taylor incorrectly moved #mufc‘s wall further back for Lucas Digne’s free-kick on November 6. United sources say Christian Eriksen politely informed Taylor of the discrepancy but was ignored [@samuelluckhurst] pic.twitter.com/A9zp0nB7CZ
— utdreport (@utdreport) December 27, 2022
Ten Hag even went on to mention this point in his post-match press conference.
“I think the free-kick [from Lucas Digne] is stoppable because the wall is too far [over]. Okay, these small details, but small details make a difference in top football.”
According to a Samuel Luckhurst report on The Manchester Evening News, The Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) have accepted Taylor was at fault.
Taylor erred, back for Forest game
“The PGMOL accepted referee Anthony Taylor incorrectly moved Manchester United’s wall further back for Aston Villa defender Lucas Digne’s free-kick.
“United officials contacted PGMOL Select Group 1 Manager Jon Moss, who agreed Taylor had erred and assured he would be spoken to.”
Interestingly, the referee has not officiated since then in the Premier League but he is set to return for United’s home encounter against Nottingham Forest.
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