Monday 16 September 2019

Gary Neville accuses Manchester United of playground approach after Paul Pogba's penalty miss

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insisted he was content with the decision to allow Paul Pogba to take a second half penalty (AP)
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Gary Neville admitted he was 'fuming' as he hit out at Manchester United's policy of allowing their players to decide who takes penalties during matches, after Paul Pogba missed a second half spot kick in Monday night's 1-1 draw at Wolves.

After Marcus Rashford converted a clinical penalty in United's opening Premier League game of the season against Chelsea, the England striker handed the ball over to Pogba at Molineux after he confirmed the French World Cup winner stated his desire to take the spot-kick.

Even though Pogba has a poor record from the penalty spot in United colours, he appeared to have authority over his most youthful team-mate and he proceeded to miss from the spot as Wolves keeper Rui Patricio produced a flying save.

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer revealed after the game that he has two designated penalty takers and allows Rashford and Pogba to decide on the pitch who takes spot-kicks, but his former United team-mate was not satisfied with that explanation.

"Why is there a debate on who takes the penalty? I don't like it," stated Sky Sports pundit Neville. "There should never be a debate. Pogba has missed four in the last 12 months. You'd think he has had his chance. Rashford smashed it in the top corner last week, pressure penalty first half, let him take it.

"It's not like spin the bottle and decide who takes the next one. There should be one penalty taker. I don't like this and it seems that last week Rashford took the penalty because he was nearest to it and got fouled. This week, it is determined by who was the nearest to it and he got fouled.

"It's not who is the best penalty taker, it is who is nearest to it and who gets fouled. In the playground, whoever gets the ball first takes the penalty, but this isn't a playground, it is a Premier League football match.

"It never looks great negotiating over who takes a penalty. Pogba is the most experience player and initially, I was fuming with him. I thought he had taken if off Marcus, but the manager says that didn't happen. Something is not right. I don't understand it.

"I'm annoyed at that tonight. Pogba is a great player, he is Manchester United's best player. We don't need stuff like that, we don't need it."

Solskjaer (left) insists he is happy with the players making the decision (Nick Potts/PA)

Solskjaer insisted he did not have a problem with the decision to allow Pogba to take the spot-kick, after confirming he has two penalty takers and he allows the players to make a final decision on who steps up.

"The two of them are the designated penalty shooters. It's up to them there to decide that this is mine," stated Solskjaer. "Sometimes players feel they are confident enough to score. Paul has scored so many penalties for us and today Patricio made a good save.

"The two of them have been very confident before. Of course, last week Marcus scored a goal and I'm sure he would have liked to do it again, but Paul was confident and I like players to say they can do this.

"I've been in that situation myself and missed a penalty for Norway, and when there are two names there it's the one who's the most confident."

Rashford added his side of the story to the discussion, as he confirmed Pogba asked to take the spot-kick and he agreed to hand him the ball.

"Paul wanted to take it, it's that simple," stated the United No.10. "Everyone can miss a penalty. He has scored so many for us, we can forget about that now and we go again.

"It is simple, if you wanna take it, you take it. I took one last week, so it is no problem for me. I think whenever there is a penalty the confident is always the same, and so it should be. We score the majority of the time, so there is no reason why there shouldn't be confident to score it."

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