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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Says Paul Pogba Does Not Deserve Penalty Criticism

Gill Clark@@gillclarkyFeatured Columnist IIAugust 23, 2019

WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 19: Paul Pogba of Manchester United reacts alongside Ole Gunnar Solskjaer manager of Manchester United at full time during the Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Manchester United at Molineux on August 19, 2019 in Wolverhampton, United Kingdom. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)
Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said on Friday that midfielder Paul Pogba does not deserve the criticism he received for missing a penalty during Monday's 1-1 draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Premier League.    

Solskjaer took time to praise Pogba during his pre-match press conference and said he expected fans to give him their support when Manchester United return to action on Saturday at Old Trafford against Crystal Palace:

"We can all see Paul was disappointed when he missed the penalty. He doesn't deserve this [criticism]. When you sign for Man United you become a Manc. Once a Manc, always a Manc.

“He gives his absolute everything for the club every week. He's got so many qualities. We're seeing different qualities from Paul this year compared to last season and he’s a leader in the group. I expect the fans to be behind him."

Pogba came under scrutiny after missing from the spot at Molineux when the game was level at 1-1. The  French midfielder won the penalty but could not beat goalkeeper Rui Patricio.

The decision to allow Pogba to take the kick was criticised, particularly after striker Marcus Rashford had scored from the spot in Manchester United's 4-0 win over Chelsea:

Gary Lineker @GaryLineker

Inexplicable that Pogba should take the penalty after Rashford took one and scored last week. As a striker that would absolutely do my head in. Particularly if they miss.

Paul Hirst @hirstclass

Bizarre that Pogba took that penalty ahead of Rashford given how many important pens the latter has scored over the last few months (v Chelsea last week, v PSG last season & v Holland in the Nations League)

Meanwhile, Goal highlighted the recent penalty records of both players:

Goal @goal

Paul Pogba has missed four of the 11 penalties he's taken in the Premier League since the start of last season ❌ Marcus Rashford has never missed one 🤦‍♂️ #WOLMUN https://t.co/7cnXRhq1FD

Solskjaer told BBC's Match of the Day after the Wolves match that both Rashford and Pogba are the team's designated penalty-takers:

Match of the Day @BBCMOTD

Paul Pogba taking the penalty over Marcus Rashford 🤔 Ole Gunnar Solskjaer explains... #MUFC #WOLMUN https://t.co/VobFBzTdas

Some individuals on social media racially abused Pogba after the miss. The club issued a statement saying they were "disgusted" and "utterly condemn" the abuse aimed at the 2018 World Cup winner, per Rob Dawson at ESPN FC.

Team-mates Rashford and Harry Maguire also took to social media to condemn the abuse:

Harry Maguire @HarryMaguire93

Disgusting. Social media need to do something about it... Every account that is opened should be verified by a passport/driving licence. Stop these pathetic trolls making numerous accounts to abuse people. @Twitter @instagram https://t.co/bzow073aTw

Marcus Rashford @MarcusRashford

Manchester United is a family. @paulpogba is a huge part of that family. You attack him you attack us all... @ManUtd https://t.co/PgalnFQMeu

Pogba is expected to feature at Old Trafford on Saturday as the Red Devils look to continue their bright start to the season. Solskjaer's men have notched four points from their opening two games to sit fourth in the league standings, with Pogba notching two assists in his two outings.