Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes football 'has changed' and that it's a 'different game' this season.
The Premier League campaign resumed amidst the COVID-19 pandemic towards the backend of last year behind closed doors. Due to the ongoing situation, this process is still in place as clubs have continued playing in empty stadiums in the 2020/21 campaign.
Additionally, the new rules inculcated by the Premier League — particularly that of handballs in the penalty box — has come under immense criticism in recent times.
Speaking on these changes and a lack of a proper pre-season for clubs, Solskjaer expressed;
"I think football has changed. There are no fans, it's a different game. Pre-season we were at different stages, the new handball rule... you never know what's going to happen."
Manchester United manager Solskjaer laments lack of clarity on handball rule
There have been several controversial penalty calls made over the last couple of weeks or so in the Premier League. Calls against Manchester United's Victor Lindelof, Tottenham Hotspur's Eric Dier, and other similar decisions have been scrutinised by experts and managers alike.
Roy Hodgson, Steve Bruce, and other managers have been vocal about a change of rules.
Manchester United boss Solskjaer is of a similar belief, saying that a lack of clarity on what does and does not qualify as a penalty is problematic. He explained;
"You can discuss it all day long but we need some clarity on what's a foul and what's a penalty because now it looks like you can chip the ball up into someone's hand - like what happened to us against [Crystal] Palace for example and Victor [Lindelof] got a penalty against him."
The six-time Premier League winner continued,
"And then the header against Tottenham [Hotspur], he's [Eric Dier] got no idea the ball hits him. You see the goals scored against West Brom at the end, is that not handball [by Kai Havertz in the build-up]? We need to get that clarity. It's a whole spectrum of things that aren't normal."
Manchester United travelled to the AMEX Stadium and contested in an enthralling fixture against Brighton & Hove Albion. The Seagulls clawed their way back into the game in the 94th minute to equalise the scoreline at 2-2, but there was a penalty awarded to the visitors after the final whistle went off due to a handball from Neal Maupay.
Bruno Fernandes converted the penalty on 100 minutes to seal all three points for Manchester United and as they registered their first win of the campaign. The Red Devils are set to travel once again to face Graham Potter's men in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday.