Solskjaer Explains Why Pogba Took the Penalty Against Wolves

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer embraces Paul Pogba at the end of the match.

Reuters/John Sibley

The Molineux and Wolverhampton Wanderers yet again caused dismay to Manchester United and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, albeit this time it was through a draw.

The fixture ended in a 1-1 scoreline with both teams finding spectacular goals in each half.

Anthony Martial was successful in transforming Marcus Rashford’s deft pass into a goal while Ruben Neves amended his side’s earlier shot on the woodwork by using the frame to sneak a worldie past David De Gea in the second half.

However, the point of controversy in the game arrived after Paul Pogba’s penalty attempt was saved by Rui Patricio.

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The Frenchman decided to take the free-kick ahead of Marcus Rashford who had successfully buried the ball into the back of the net against Chelsea last week.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has since defended the decision to award the spot-kick to the Frenchman by stating the following (to Sky Sports): “The two of them (Pogba and Rashford) are designated penalty takers. It is up to them who take it there and then. Sometimes players feel like they are confident to score. Today Patricio made a good save. You can see the slide on the powerpoint that this is the plan.”

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All fine and good. Part of the plan. However, what the Norwegian went on to say may not go well with supporters: “We won’t change it after this week. The two have been confident. Last week Marcus scored a goal and today Paul was confident. I like players with confidence.”

This isn’t necessarily justified. Pogba’s rate of missing penalties has come to the point where it would be hard for him to be trusted with the spot-kick hereon.

While Monday’s debacle didn’t involve his controversial slow run-up, the fact that Rashford is properly capable of the feat has irked a few fans who were hoping to string a consistent run of games early on.