Erik ten Hag writes off Man Utd’s top-four hopes and bemoans refereeing | Football

The Dutchman was frustrated as his side dropped points at home to Burnley (Picture: Getty)

Erik ten Hag has finally conceded defeat in the race to secure Champions League football while he has hit out at the refereeing in Manchester United’s 1-1 draw with Burnley.

The Red Devils created a host of chances at Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon and finally took the lead in the 79th minute when Antony pounced on a stray pass, ran through on goal and guided a left-footed finish into the bottom corner as he was falling over.

But not even 10 minutes later, Burnley were awarded a spot-kick when Andre Onana wiped out Zeki Amdouni and the forward dusted himself off to dispatch the penalty and secure a point for the visitors.

The result leaves United 12 points adrift of fourth-placed Aston Villa with just four games left to play – and a significantly inferior goal difference – and Ten Hag now knows his side will have to settle for Europa League football at best next season.

Asked if Europa League qualification now looks most likely for United, Ten Hag told Match of the Day: ‘That is the facts. It is not easy to get fourth when you’re so far behind. We needed to win.

‘The past few weeks we’ve got in winning positions and then given it away. The gap is too big in this phase of the season.’

Ten Hag was far from happy with the officiating from referee John Brooks and while he had no complaints about the penalty awarded to Burnley, he felt a clear handball had been missed as well as other penalty shouts.

Asked if the foul from Onana was similar to the one he got away with at the start of the season against Wolves, Ten Hag replied: ‘I can see that.

Handball shout in Man Utd vs Burnley

Ten Hag felt United should have been given a late penalty (Picture: ViaPlay)

‘It is a penalty. But, in the other box I have seen a minimum of three penalties. The refereeing is really inconsistent.

‘If you take the penalty last week against Aaron Wan-Bissaka, why wasn’t today? There was a minimum of one penalty against [Alejandro] Garnacho.’

In a separate interview with MUTV, it was put to Ten Hag that the penalty decisions seemed inconsistent with those that have gone against United recently and he agreed, replying: ‘Very. We are in that moment, it doesn’t help, right?

‘We concede penalties, all debatable, against Chelsea, against Liverpool, against Coventry City. And now again. It’s a lot against Manchester United, and that feels really inconsistent.

‘So I don’t have a problem with the penalty we conceded because that is a good decision, it’s a penalty.

‘But then be consistent, and especially the one with the handball. If I assess the penalty from Aaron Wan-Bissaka [in the FA Cup] last week, what can he do there? And what is then the handball today?

‘It is absolutely inconsistent. And there is also the referee, he should take responsibility, what it means for the club and especially at this stage of the game.’

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