Ashley Young has been widely condemned following the way he won a penalty in Manchester United’s Champions League match with Real Sociedad last night.
United drew 0-0 at the Anoeta Stadium, despite having the majority of the play and forging a number of good chances to score, including the penalty, which was missed by Robin van Persie.
Young had turned his man in the Sociedad box but appeared to be tugged back and threw himself dramatically to the floor.
“I thought there were some strange decisions all night and that was another one of them,” said his manager, David Moyes.
“He’s got a penalty kick for a decision. I don’t know about his reputation, but the referee is there and he gave it. He’s the one who saw fit to award a penalty. That was the referee’s choice.”
The incident brought back memories of a furore surrounding Young following an apparent dive against QPR in 2012.
While Moyes chose to say little, Sky Sports pundit and ex-United player Ray Wilkins was less forgiving.
“This is pathetic,” he said.
“This is as bad for me as all these over-the-top tackles we’re getting at the moment, because that is a conning of the referee. I just wish Ashley would cut this out because he’s a good player, but he’s getting a bad name.”
Over on ITV Roy Keane was less bombastic, but still condemned the England international, who was signed by Sir Alex Ferguson from Aston Villa for £18million in 2011.
“Ashley Young has obviously gone down too much over the last few months,” said Keane.
“He’s been heavily criticised in England, but of course we’re playing in a foreign country and it’s almost more acceptable. But I think he’s conned the referee there.”
Moyes was happier to offer his analysis of Marouane Fellaini’s sending-off for two yellow cards, the second of which came in the 88th minute.
“I think it was totting up at the end of the day, which was really harsh because he played well tonight,” said the Scot.
“I thought the crowd whistled for an awful lot of things tonight.”
The United manager was ultimately most upset with his side’s performance.
“That was a game we should’ve won tonight. We missed a big opportunity to take three points tonight, but we’re still in a good strong position [in the group table],” he said.
With two games remaining, United are top of Group A on eight points while their closest rivals Bayer Leverkusen have one less and their final opponents Shakhtar Donetsk are on five.
“We go to Leverkusen next and then we play Shakhtar Donetsk at home, so hopefully in those two games we’ll make sure we qualify,” said Moyes.
Image courtesy of Lucozade via YouTube, with thanks.