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'Solskjaer may be protecting Pogba' - Neville questions Man Utd manager after reveal of penalty system

02:07 EAT 20/08/2019
Paul Pogba, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Manchester United
The former Manchester United defender says the manager could just be backing his player in the wake of a controversial miss

Gary Neville says he believes that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may be "protecting" Paul Pogba after the midfielder's missed penalty caused controversy on Monday.

The French star saw his spot-kick saved by Rui Patricio on Monday as Manchester United were forced to settle for a 1-1 draw with Wolves at the Molineux Stadium.

Pogba, who had missed from the spot on three prior occasions this year, appeared to discuss penalty duties with Marcus Rashford before stepping up to the spot, drawing the ire of Neville, who says he was "fuming" when the World Cup winner took the ball over the English forward.

After the match, Solskjaer stated that he has two penalty takers, Pogba and Rashford, and that it is up to the two of them to decide who takes the shot.

Rashford also defended his team-mate, saying the decision was "simple" while adding that anyone can miss from the spot like Pogba did on Monday.

But Neville says he believes Solskjaer could be just covering for the midfielder in an effort to protect Pogba and the rest of the dressing room.

"[Confirmation of two takers] settles the initial anger I had of Pogba taking the penalty off Rashford. Because that was my initial thinking. Why’s he taking the penalty off Rashford? I hate that," Neville said on Sky Sports.

"They’re obviously organising between themselves on the pitch who takes the penalty. I don’t like it.

"I can understand having two penalty takers if one’s the penalty taker and the other is if there’s a substitution - to be fair, Marcus Rashford does get substituted, Pogba not as much but could get substituted. So I could understand that maybe you have a first penalty taker and a second.

"I think the problem is that Pogba has missed four in the last 12 months. He will always be confident because he’s confident in his own ability. But if it’s been left to the players, surely the guy who scored last week is the person who should take the penalty. He scored last week.

"I think Ole’s telling us the truth. The only thing I would say is, he may be protecting Pogba. I don’t think he is, but he could be.

"The idea of him coming out and saying ‘Pogba’s taken it off Rashford’ would be disastrous for the dressing room. It would then be picked up by the media. He may just be doing that to protect them. I don’t think he is, but it could be that as well."

Manchester United have now collected four points from the first two matches, having toppled Chelsea 4-0 in their opener with Pogba providing a pair of assists.

Next up for the Red Devils is a match against Crystal Palace at Old Trafford.