Gary O’Neil revealed he received an apology from the PGMOL’s Jon Moss after Wolves were denied a “blatant penalty” in their 1-0 defeat at Manchester United.
United debutant goalkeeper Andre Onana survived a stoppage-time penalty check after clattering into Sasa Kalajdzic while failing to claim the ball, with O’Neil booked by referee Simon Hooper for his protesting against VAR’s inactivity.
Despite registering 23 shots on goal – the most by an away side at Old Trafford since Chelsea in 2005 – Raphael Varane’s winner 14 minutes from time condemned Wolves to an opening-night defeat.
Speaking in his post-match press conference, O’Neil said he had received an apology but that it was no consolation after his side’s encouraging yet fruitless performance.
“We have just spoken to Jonathan Moss and fair play to him for coming straight out and apologising and saying it was a blatant penalty and should have been given,” he said.
“I spent the afternoon with him today, gave up a lot of my day and preparation around trying to understand the new guidelines and trying not to get myself booked on my first game with the new guidelines which I failed in.
“Fair play to Jonathan for saying it was a clear and obvious error and he cannot believe that the on-field ref did not give it, cannot believe that VAR didn’t intervene.
“It probably made me feel worse actually because once you know you are right you feel worse about leaving with nothing.”
‘It was a penalty’ – Neville & Carney
There was near consensus in the Monday Night Football studio, where former United captain Gary Neville and former England international Karen Carney thought Onana got away with one.
“The reason I thought it was a penalty was because Onana wasn’t anywhere near the ball,” Neville said. “He was always under it, was never getting there, and could have made a decision before he jumped.
“I always used to say if my goalkeeper was coming out they should clatter the lot, he’s done that, so in some ways, he has done what I’d want my goalkeeper to do, but the problem is he’s nowhere near the ball.
“He’s decided to disturb as much as he can and put the attacking player off, and it’s a penalty because he wasn’t close enough to the ball. If he arrived at the same time and he just missed the ball, it would have been a different story, but I think he knows what he’s doing.”
Carney added: “I think he’s [O’Neil] right to feel aggrieved. Onana comes out committed, I think he takes his eye off it at the last minute, but he takes out the player. He just clatters him… it’s a penalty, no?”
Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher, however, did not believe there was enough evidence to overturn the on-field referee’s decision not to award the penalty in the first instance.
“I wasn’t sure when I initially saw it,” he said.
“When it hadn’t been given, I didn’t think there was any way in the world it would have been overturned. Once the referee hadn’t given it, I didn’t think it was a big enough mistake for them to overturn.”