Solskjaer defends penalty policy

Solskjaer defends penalty policy

By Simon Peach

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer does not believe Manchester United’s spot-kick situation needs addressing despite Paul Pogba’s penalty miss costing his side victory at Wolves. 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.

Solskjaer’s side were vastly improved from those 2-1 losses in the FA Cup and Premier League earlier in the year, but it could have been even better than Monday’s hard-fought 1-1 draw.

Ruben Neves’ stunner cancelled out a fine Anthony Martial opener and eyebrows were raised when Pogba stepped up to take the spot-kick he won, rather than last week’s penalty scorer, Marcus Rashford.

Rui Patricio saved the France midfielder’s thumping effort — his fourth failed penalty since the start of last season — and United great Gary Neville questioned why there had been an on-pitch discussion about the taker.

“This is a Manchester United penalty, this is not tombola,” the former defender said on Sky Sports of that conversation, but Solskjaer downplayed the issues after confirming both Pogba and Rashford are the designated penalty takers.

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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’.”

Meanwhile, the United boss has admitted Alexis Sanchez could be leaving Old Trafford.

During last Friday’s press conference, Solskjaer appeared to end talk of Sanchez leaving, despite the Chilean failing to achieve anywhere near his best since joining from Arsenal in January 2018.

Asked about Sanchez’s future after the Wolves game, however, Solskjaer said: “Well, there’s still a couple of weeks left of the transfer window and there is a chance... some clubs have shown interest in Alexis, so we’ll see what happens. Can’t update you more than that.”


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