Solskjaer plays down Reds penalty row after Wolves draw
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has played down Manchester United’s penalty row at Wolves and says the situation does not need addressing.
United had to settle for a 1-1 draw at Molineux on Monday night after Ruben Neves’ stunner cancelled out a fine Anthony Martial opener, but they could have left the West Midlands with all three points had Paul Pogba slotted home a penalty.
Eyebrows were raised when Pogba stepped up to take the spot-kick he won, rather than last week’s penalty scorer Marcus Rashford, and the on-pitch discussion over who should take it did not look good.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) August 19, 2019
Reds great Gary Neville later described it as embarrassing and says who takes the penalties should be decided in the dressing room, not out on the pitch for all to see.
However his former team-mate, and now United manager, Solskjaer, did not agree, when confirming they are both penalty takers and the decision can be made at the time.
Asked whether he needed to address penalties, Solskjaer said: “Not at all. The two of them are confident and good penalty takers and I’ve been in that situation myself, gone up and missed a penalty for Norway.
“When there’s two names there, it’s the one who’s the most confident and Paul has scored so many before, so absolutely no problem.
“It doesn’t have to be (one taker), no. Because sometimes in a game you do grow in confidence. Sometimes ‘I don’t want to take it today because I had a bad day’.
“Absolutely no problem with players walking up and saying, ‘this is mine’.”
Despite the miss United were vastly improved from the 2-1 losses against Wolves in the FA Cup and Premier League earlier in the year, and on the whole, Solskjaer seemed happy to take a point from the game.
Fresh from opening their Premier League campaign with an impressive triumph against Chelsea, United hit the road looking to avoid a third Molineux loss in five months, and in that respect it was mission accomplished.
“First half today was very much ours I felt,” Solskjaer said of the United performance. “Then the first 10-15 (minutes) of the second half was poor and then we got back into the game again, so I am very pleased.
“They’ve learnt today. They gave a couple of sloppy transitions away, counter-attacks, because we passed it – we were too eager to play the pass through.
“Sometimes one extra pass before we play the killer pass but we’re improving all the time and we will improve a lot because the boys want to learn, want to improve, which is evident from the first game to now. We’ve only improved.”