Solskjaer defends Pogba for taking penalty, legends back Rashford, Latest Football News - The New Paper

Solskjaer defends Pogba for taking penalty, legends back Rashford

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer refused to blame Paul Pogba, after the Manchester United star missed a penalty in yesterday morning's (Singapore time) 1-1 draw at Wolverhampton Wanderers after taking spot-kick duties from Marcus Rashford.

Pogba wasted a chance to give United their second successive English Premier League win when his penalty was saved by Wolves goalkeeper Rui Patricio.

It was the fourth missed penalty by Pogba since the start of last season. The France midfielder appeared to tell Rashford that he wanted to take it, even though his United teammate had scored from the spot against Chelsea the previous weekend.

United manager Solskjaer said he allows both Pogba and Rashford to take spot-kicks.

"The two of them are designated penalty shooters and it's up to them there and then who feels 'this is mine'," he said.

"Sometimes players just 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. I like players with confidence and the feeling that 'I can do this'."

It was a disappointing result for United after a sumptuous Ruben Neves strike cancelled out Anthony Martial's first-half goal.

A win at the Molineux would have meant United going top of the table and former United defender Gary Neville called on Solskjaer to resolve the issue before his team's next penalty.

"They should decide in the dressing room who is the penalty taker - it's embarrassing," Neville told Sky Sports.

"This is a Manchester United penalty, this not a tombola, this is not Under-5s on the school field. Rashford scored last week - take the penalty. But there wasn't a leader out there. Something wasn't right."

Rashford revealed Pogba had said he wanted to take the kick and the England striker had no problem with that.

"Paul wanted to take it, it's that simple. Everybody can miss a penalty. He's scored countless penalties for us, so it's normal to miss one. I took one last week so, for me, it's no problem for him to take one this week.

"It's unfortunate he didn't score but it's not on him, it's as a team and we take it forward to the next game."

However, Ryan Giggs, another former United star, felt that Rashford, as a centre-forward who converted a penalty just the week before, should have taken it.

"Rashford is a centre-forward, scores a goal in his first league game, penalty, you get another penalty in the next game, you've got to be demanding to take it," Giggs told Optus Sport.

"Pogba has not got a great record of scoring penalties. I'm just surprised when you've scored a penalty the game before, that you get a penalty the next game you don't take it.

"So you open yourself up to criticism then, because if Marcus misses it then OK, you can miss a penalty, but now everybody is talking about why Marcus didn't take it, why did Pogba take it?

"If I'd have gone walking over to Ruud van Nistelrooy (former United striker), he'd have just said, 'Go back!' and he'd have put the ball underneath his shirt.

"There's no way you're getting the ball off him. So that's why I find it a little bit difficult to understand, once a centre-forward has scored a penalty, next penalty he gets, he's taking it."

Former Liverpool and Manchester United striker Michael Owen, who was in Singapore for a La Liga event yesterday, echoed those sentiments.

The 39-year-old told The New Paper: "If I were Marcus Rashford, and, you know, a penalty was given, I would go and grab the ball because I'm taking it, but he seems to want to be more of a team player.

"I was a bit more selfish and perhaps Rashford is not."


"Paul wanted to take it, it's that simple... It's unfortunate he didn't score but it's not on him."
- United forward Marcus Rashford