Aston Villa manager Dean Smith has hit out at the decision to award Manchester United a penalty as his side went down 3-1 on Sunday.
After Bertrand Traore gave the home side the lead, United pulled level with a penalty from Bruno Fernandes in the second half.
The spot kick was awarded after Paul Pogba went down under a challenge from Douglas Luiz, but Smith was left perplexed by the referee’s call, especially in the wake of Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling being denied a penalty in a similar situation against Chelsea on Saturday.
“The first five minutes we didn’t start very well but then played really well in the first half, high-pressed them and got a deserved goal,” he said to Sky Sports.
“The penalty decision affected us more than it did them.”
He added on the penalty: “I don’t think anybody knows, everybody is confused how Raheem Sterling can go through and have four or five touches on him last night and not get a penalty, then one touch here and it is a penalty – it looked a pathetic decision to me, but he goes down, similar to Old Trafford and last season here.
Villa ended the game with 10 men as striker Ollie Watkins was sent off late on.
The decision to give him his second booking angered Smith further and he feels his side were let down by the officials after a VAR review.
“Ollie Watkins has got sent off for a second yellow, there is no way the referee can tell me he is convinced he hasn’t been touched,” he said.
“I just don’t understand the decision-making of the officials and more importantly at Stockley Park.
“It looks like now he has to get hurt to win the penalty – is it enough contact for a penalty? No.”
After the defeat to United, Villa will host Everton on Thursday, followed by a trip to Crystal Palace next Sunday.
Villa will then face Tottenham on May 19 before finishing their Premier League campaign with a home match against Chelsea.