Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has attempted to quell a potential storm around Manchester United’s missed spot-kick in the 1-1 draw at Wolves on Monday night, stating that Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford are both designated penalty takers.
Anthony Martial’s first-half goal was cancelled out in style by Ruben Neves before Pogba won a spot-kick after a fine dribble into the area.
Pogba and Rashford conversed before it was taken, as they had done before Rashford scored against Chelsea in United’s previous game. The Frenchman stepped up but his powerful effort was well stopped by Wolves keeper Rui Patricio.
“Of course, we get a penalty where normally we can get another two points and score that one but sometimes the keeper makes a good save,” Solskjaer told Sky Sports.
“The two of them [Rashford and Pogba] are designated penalty shooters and it’s up to them there and then who feels like ‘this is mine’.
“Sometimes players just feel that they’re confident to score. Paul’s scored so many for us and today Patricio made a good save.
“You can see the slides before on the PowerPoint [that they are the two penalty takers].”
United left Molineux with one point rather than three, arguably a fair result after the home side grew into a game initially dominated by the visitors.
But the penalty system will remain the same, according to Solskjaer, who insisted he would rather have players wanting to take penalties rather than shying away from them.
When asked if he would make a change, he said: “No. Not at all. The two of them have been very confident before.
“Of course, last week Marcus scored a goal and I’m sure this week he would have loved to but Paul was confident and I like players with confidence and the feeling of ‘I can do this’.”
Beyond the penalty, Solskjaer would have seen reasons for optimism and areas for improvement in what was a hugely entertaining game of football.
United performed well in parts against a side they struggled to cope with last season, but could have conceded more than once after half-time. Wolves’ midfield got a foothold in the game and were aided by a promising performance off the bench from livewire winger Adama Traore.
“We dominated possession,” Solskjaer added. “We got the first goal, which is a great goal, then second half we know they’re going to come out like a house on fire. They gamble a little bit, create a couple of chances and probably got the goal they deserve for the pressure they had. Then I thought we took control again and could’ve won it.
“It was a mature performance. Second half, a little bit sloppier but we are improving. We are a very young team that will learn and today we learned on the pitch as well, you have to learn on the job.
“You can’t just sit back and discuss after. They had to get the mentality right after we’ve conceded that goal because that goal was coming. I thought we finished the game the strongest.”