Paul Merson blasts Roger East and Louis Van Gaal

Louis van Gaal

The Sky Sports pundit has criticised the referee for his high profile mistake and the Manchester United manager's strange substitutions.

Former Arsenal midfielder Paul Merson has criticised referee Roger East following the controversial game at Old Trafford on Saturday.

Officiating the game between Manchester United and Sunderland, East awarded the home side a penalty and sent off defender Wes Brown, despite it being John O’Shea who had committed the offence.

Defender O’Shea even admitted to the foul, but East stuck by his decision to send off his teammate Brown. This is the latest in a series of bad refereeing decisions in recent weeks, and Merson was highly critical of the officials once again after criticising Martin Atkinson last week.

“It’s a stonewall penalty, but I don’t know how the referee gets it wrong,” Merson said in his post match commentary on Soccer Saturday.

“He sends off Wes Brown and it’s definitely John O’Shea. The thing is, O’Shea is telling him that it’s him [who committed the foul]. You’re not going to go up to someone and say it was you if it wasn’t you. It’s unbelievable, and we say everybody makes mistakes but that’s a bad mistake.”

Strange substitutions

The former player turned pundit was also critical of Manchester United manager Louis Van Gaal for his decision to substitute both his strikers during the game.

The Dutchman replaced forward Radamel Falcao with midfielder Marouane Fellaini after Wayne Rooney converted the aforementioned penalty, despite the Colombian putting in a hard shift for his side.

He also replaced Rooney after he had scored his second later on in the game, despite him being on a hat-trick. That comes after Van Gaal recently claimed his side would be challenging for the title if they had a 20-goal-a-season striker, according to the BBC. Merson, though, questions how strikers can score goals if they’re consistently hauled off.

“How are you supposed to get 20 goals a season if you’re being brought off as a centre forward against a team with ten men?,” added Merson.

“Wayne Rooney is at his best when he gets his head up and he’s trying to put people in. Keep him on and let him get a hat-trick.”

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