Paul Scholes delivers verdict on controversial Barcelona penalty as Manchester United rage at referee


Paul Scholes backed referee Clement Turpin after Manchester United were furious to concede a penalty in their Europa League clash with Barcelona.

Bruno Fernandes was punished for sending Alejandro Balde tumbling after just 15 minutes of the play-off second leg at Old Trafford.

The referee did not hesitate to point to the spot and VAR officials decided against intervening despite protests from United, led by Fernandes.

Owen Hargreaves defended Fernandes to an extent, insisting it can be “hard to let go” of an attacker in such a circumstance although fellow ex-United midfielder Scholes refused to criticise Turpin’s call.

He said: “I think [it was a penalty] just about, it won’t look like there’s much in it but if you get touched on the arm like that, it just sends you off balance.

“I don’t think he’s cheated one bit, I can understand why the referee’s given it.”

Fernandes claimed post-game the decision was “too soft” as United came back from Robert Lewandowski tucking away the penalty to win the play-off tie.