Lampard and Solskjaer Trade VAR Barbs Ahead of FA Cup Meeting

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Ahead of their FA Cup semifinal clash tomorrow, Chelsea manager Frank Lampard and Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer are in a miniature war of words. Making things more incendiary, Tottenham Hotspur boss Jose Mourinho, whose last two jobs were this exact pair of teams threw his verbal hat into the rhetoric ring too.

Mourinho said United were deserving of a Champions League spot, but that the Red Devils have been especially fortunate. It was a back-handed compliment, much like the praise that Lampard had for United midfielder Bruno Fernandes. Solskjaer has now responded to both.

Manchester United vs Chelsea FA Cup Semifinal FYIs

Kickoff: Sun July 19, 6pm, Wembley Stadium

Team news for both sides: go to this link

Starting XI Predictions:   Chelsea   Manchester United

Referencing an altercation with Aston Villa’s Ezri Konsa, Lampard said the following about the need for his defenders to extra cautious on Sunday in the clash at Wembley:

“They have to be. Because when players of such high level, quality and speed of the Manchester United forwards travel quickly you have to move your feet and not dive in on them. You need to understand the qualities of the opposition, with players like that. Fernandes is very clever in his movement.”

“We saw that at Aston Villa to make something feel like a penalty where maybe it even isn’t. As a player we can talk about VAR decisions and whether they’re right or wrong. But if a player is going to dangle a leg and not move their feet then you obviously do leave yourself open to penalties, VAR or no VAR.”

He wasn’t done, adding:

“I would like to think that with VAR you have to be level headed. Some might go against you or not. But we seem to be in a period where, in terms of Manchester United, they’ve got a few in their favour.”

The numbers don’t lie- people making the VARchester United jokes have a point.

Solskjaer had a whole lot to say on this.

“How long have we got? I can sit here for hours now and try to talk about this,” Solskjaer said.

“It looks like there’s a narrative, it looks like people want to influence whoever’s making the decisions. Talking about lucky; the penalty we got against Tottenham in the last minute that was taken away from us, that might be two points for us.

“Talking about the red card that [Oriol] Romeu should have had against us when he got Mason Greenwood almost crippled, that should’ve been a red card. Maybe that would’ve helped us.”

“Talking about Mark Noble when he should have been sent off against us when we lost at West Ham. Talking about the actual decision that is made that is against Man United, but is overturned and corrected. So it’s actually me that should be complaining that we get decisions against us on the pitch by the on field referee.”

“I hear people talking about luck, that we’ve been lucky more than unlucky. If you look at the factual decisions — I don’t want to sound like a certain manager talking about facts — but if you’re offside you’re offside, that’s clear.”

He wasn’t done.

“There’s a narrative there, but we just have to focus on our games,” Solskjaer continued.

“We let other people talk about that. I don’t want to go too much into it because I might be in trouble. I hope I’m not now.”

“I’m pretty relaxed on these. Referees are going to be making objective decisions. They are not going to be influenced by any emotion in any way, so I don’t think they’ll read it [what Lampard said].”

Well game on tomorrow! It should be a real chippy one now!

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with News NowBanks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly contributes to WGN TVSports IllustratedChicago Now and SB Nation.

You can follow Banks, a former writer for Chicago Tribune.comon Twitter and his cat on Instagram.

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