It’s 24 hours since Manchester United were held to a frustrating draw by Southampton and yet the debate about the Saints’ opener rumbles on.
It was the type of challenge that trod the line between fair and foul and has been held up in some quarters as an example of the kind of ‘hands off’ refereeing that will come as a welcome tonic a year of VAR micromanagement.
Opinions regarding the legitimacy of the tackle have been split though, with Reds’ manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insistent that it was a clear foul.
As reported by the Daily Mail, he said, “We should do better (about the goal)…That being said, it’s a foul. He goes straight through Bruno with his own hip and arm across him.
“I’m a bit…not worried, but we have to look at it because we can’t go from one extreme – volleyball or basketball last year – and go into rugby now.
“I liked the more lenient way: it’s more men’s football but it’s still basically a foul.”
Meanwhile, former ref Peter Walton has told The Times that Fernandes’ failure to fully shield the ball made it a fair tackle.
He said, “Jack Stephens’ challenge…was not a foul. Fernandes did not get his body in between the ball and the Southampton defender. He left the door ajar and Stephens picked his pocket.
“Yes, there was contact, but that contact was part of the challenge and not a foul.”
As Solskjaer himself hinted, individual errors in the centre of the park were a bigger contributing factor than the tackle itself, whatever one’s opinion on its legitimacy.
Therefore, even the most die-hard United followers will probably see the merit in Walton’s even-handed perspective on a challenge that played a small part in a goal.
And those same Reds’ fans will surely be hoping that the squad channels their collective sense of injustice to deliver a much-improved display against Wolverhampton Wanderers this weekend.