Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho admits he is worried about referee’s not applying grappling laws consistently this season.
Referee Mike Dean awarded two penalties – one for each side – for grappling in the area during Manchester City’s 4-1 win at Stoke last weekend, both for offences which may have been allowed to slide in previous campaigns.
City benefited in the first half when Ryan Shawcross’ grab of Nicolas Otamendi’s arm saw Dean put his whistle to his mouth, and then Raheem Sterling was adjudged to have impeded Shawcross at the same end in the second half.
Mourinho, speaking ahead of this evening’s Premier League trip to Hull to be refereed by Jonathan Moss, said: “My problem with new rules is always the consistency or inconsistency in the decisions.
“If the penalty that favoured Man City is always a penalty for every team, that’s fine. The only problem is if it’s a penalty for Man City and is not a penalty for Watford.
“If the referees can find that consistency, we will have dozens and dozens of penalties, for sure, but in a consistent way. Every time that happens, a penalty. If so, that’s fine.
“Probably the players will stop grabbing and attacking players will have more freedom, more space, more free headers, more goals. Probably managers will make the decision not to defend man to man and defend zonal. If there is consistency, that’s okay.”
And Mourinho clearly believes if the new rules are indeed carried out to the letter consistently, Marouane Fellaini could earn United many a spot-kick.
“Every time Fellaini wants to jump, he can’t jump,” the Portuguese said. “He is grabbed. That is another story. Body, shoulders… I think football has to be (a contact sport), and in this country for cultural reasons, has to be that more than in other places.
“But the grab, the pull of the shirt, not looking at the ball and just at the player to grab them – this is a penalty, but it has to be a penalty every time, with every club, with every player.”