Southampton 1-1 Manchester United: Don’t let football turn into rugby, warns Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

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Bruno Fernandes was booked for his protests  (Getty Images)
Bruno Fernandes was booked for his protests (Getty Images)

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer claimed football is in danger of turning into rugby after being left frustrating by Manchester United's 1-1 draw at Southampton.

United thrashed Leeds 5-1 on the opening weekend of the Premier League season, but dropped two points - or gained one, depending on your interpretation of their performance - at St Mary's.

Having hit nine without reply past Saints at Old Trafford in February, Ralph Hasenhuttl's side rallied in front of a first full house at St Mary's since March 2020.

Mason Greenwood secured United a hard-fought draw when cancelling out Southampton's first-half opener as United took their unbeaten Premier League away run to 27 matches, equalling the top-flight record.

But Solskjaer left the south coast wondering what could have been, having been annoyed by Jack Stephens' challenge on Bruno Fernandes before Che Adams opened the scoring via a deflection off of Fred.

The Portuguese was booked for his remonstrations, with the incident coming a day after Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp told people to "watch wrestling" if they liked some of the challenges Burnley put in.

"We should do better," the United boss said of his side's reaction to not getting the free-kick.

"If you don't get a foul, we should make sure we block the shot, put your body on the line and make sure they don't get a strike on target.

"That being said, it's a foul. He goes straight through Bruno, his hip and with his armpit and his arm across him.

"I'm not worried but we have to look at it because we can't go from one extreme of volleyball or basketball from last year and go into rugby now. I liked the more lenient way, it's more men's football but, still, that is a clear foul.

"That being said, you can see early on with the fans as well, it gets the crowd going when you fly into a few tackles and we did suffer a few tackles. That was part of their thinking early on if you like."

While that decision annoyed Solskjaer, so did the way his side dropped off after Greenwood levelled in front of the raucous travelling support.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

"We did well to get the goal, build pressure, good goal and we had another five or six minutes with a good spell," the United boss said. "And then we lost our way a little bit.

"Maybe tiredness, sloppiness came in anyway and we gave their crowd stuff to cheer about because they had a few counter-attacks and some dangerous moments."

Additional reporting by PA.

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