Man United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer defends penalty policy after Paul Pogba miss proves costly

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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.

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’.”

Pogba pulled his shirt over his head at the full-time whistle, knowing this was a great opportunity to win at upwardly mobile Wolves.

“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.”

Provided by Press Association Sport 

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Raul Jimenez a workhorse and Adama Traore a beast as Wolves bite back against Man United

Matt Jones 20/08/2019
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Paul Pogba missed a penalty as Manchester United had to settle for a point at Molineux in a 1-1 draw with Wolves.

United started with hunger and a snarl against a Wolves side that bit them hard last season, unbeaten in three encounters. They were bossing possession but hadn’t really tested Rui Patricio until they took the lead. A beautiful passage of play was topped off by Marcus Rashford sliding in Anthony Martial and he rifled a left-footed finish high past Patricio.

Wolves, timid in the opening 45, bit back in the second as they roared out of the traps. United were rattled and conceded a brilliant equaliser when Ruben Neves fired in a fierce shot off the underside of David De Gea’s crossbar after the Red Devils failed to clear a corner.

The game was an open spectacle from then on with both sides showing intent. United could have won it when Pogba was felled by Conor Coady inside the box, but his resultant penalty was brilliant kept out by Patricio.

Here’s how the Wolves players rated.

WOLVES (3-5-2)

Rui Patricio 7: Helpless for Martial’s ferocious strike. Stunning save to keep out Pogba’s penalty. What a fillip the Portuguese is for a club on the rise.

Willy Boly 6: Desperate lunge did enough to put Martial off in first half, seemed to thrive on physical test on offer. Three tackles was joint second most.

Conor Coady 7: Imperious, a proper centre-half, although felled Pogba and didn’t complain. Calm and collected even amid a United onslaught. Was excellent last season, can an England call-up be far away?

Ryan Bennett 5: Got away with a dreadfully underhit backpass that almost let Martial in for a second. Struggled with United’s trickery and pace but led Wolves with five clearances.

Matt Doherty 4: Struggling with injury in the early throes of the season and looked off the pace. Replaced at the break by Traore.

Jonny 5: Had his work cut out with lightening Dan James for company. Able to venture forward more as game opened up. Headed straight at De Gea.

Leander Dendoncker 5: Had a busy evening trying to keep tabs on United’s free-flowing attack. Snatched at a shot late on as Wolves countered.

Ruben Neves 7: What a stunning goal. A trait of Wolves’ Championship-winning season were his long range strikes and this harked back to that. Unsaveable.

Joao Moutinho 7: Seemed overawed in the first half but as Wolves got a grip after the break he suddenly came alive, making the hosts tick. Such a silky, composed mastermind.

Raul Jimenez 8: Intelligent, strong play earned Wolves first sight of goal, tempted Maguire into rash tackle. Unlucky to see his glancing header come back off the post. Workhorse.

Diogo Jota 7: Struggled to get going in the first 45 as his side were pegged back but thrived as Wolves found their bite. Tormented United last season and was a threat again.

SUBS

Adama Traore 7: Changed the game instantly after coming on, his driving runs causing all sorts of problems and leading to the corner from which they equalised. A menace.

Patrick Cutrone N/A: Little time to make an impact but one to watch this season.

Pedro Neto N/A: Again little time to show his skills but looks tricky and one run on the left helped relieve the pressure.

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Sokratis aiming for winning partnership with Arsenal new boy David Luiz

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Sokratis Papastathopoulos believes he can form as strong a defensive partnership with new Arsenal signing David Luiz as he did with Mats Hummels at Borussia Dortmund.

The Gunners made a surprise move to bring in Luiz from rivals Chelsea on transfer deadline day and he made his debut alongside Sokratis in Saturday’s 2-1 Premier League win over Burnley.

Greece international Sokratis joined last summer but despite some good performances he struggled to help improve an Arsenal defence which again proved to be their Achilles heel.

The no-nonsense 31-year-old will now be hoping to develop an understanding with Luiz and feels their contrasting styles could help form a similar to bond he enjoyed alongside Hummels during their three seasons together in Germany.

“I have known him for a lot of years,” Sokratis said of his new team-mate.

“He also speaks some Greek and is a very good guy. I am happy also that we took a player like him, with experience.

“When I was in Dortmund I played with Hummels, who has the same style as David. It was also a very good partnership and it is very good (now with Luiz).

“It was his first game, it is important that we won and we can go from here.”

A trip to Liverpool is next up for Sokratis, Luiz and Arsenal – who were thrashed 5-1 at Anfield last season – before they host Tottenham in the first north London derby of this campaign

While the pair were able to start together with victory over Burnley, Sokratis believes facing Jurgen Klopp’s side – who offer a less physical approach than the Clarets – could make it an easier afternoon.

“It was important because the other team played very good – not very good football but they play this style of game where every time they like to fight for second balls,” he said about the win over Burnley.

“It was good, it was a hard game and an important three points. It is good because we go to the derbies with six points.

“It (playing Liverpool) is a different game. Maybe it is more easy, because you don’t have to fight a lot – but they also play football. If they are on good day and you are having a bad day, it is hard.”

Provided by Press Association Sport

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