Solskjaer keeps faith in Pogba

LONDON • Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has refused to name another Manchester United penalty-taker despite the furore that followed Paul Pogba's miss against Wolves on Monday that cost the Red Devils top spot in the Premier League.

The United manager was criticised after Pogba failed to convert a penalty for the fourth time in a year for United, a week after Marcus Rashford continued his perfect penalty record by opening the scoring in the 4-0 win over Chelsea.

Rui Patricio saved from the French midfielder as the game ended 1-1, but despite facing criticism for a lack of leadership, a defiant Solskjaer said he will continue to name both Pogba and Rashford as designated penalty takers.

"I'm sure you're going to see Paul Pogba score a penalty for Man United again," said Solskjaer ahead of today's Premier League home match against Crystal Palace.

"Let's see when we get the next one. We're practising penalties and Marcus and Paul are still on them. Marcus or Paul will score the next one, I'm sure they will.

"It's not that I've left it to the players, we've nominated two and throughout the season and it's good to know they're there and trusted to take penalties."

Pogba's miss, however, had a far more sinister impact as he was targeted with racist abuse online after the match. United have called for social media companies to do more to protect their users and Twitter have agreed to meet representatives of the club.

CONVICTION

Let's see when we get the next one. We're practising penalties and Marcus (Rashford) and Paul (Pogba) are still on them. Marcus or Paul will score the next one, I'm sure they will.

OLE GUNNAR SOLSKJAER, Man United manager, on maintaining Rashford and Pogba as designated penalty takers.Solskjaer believes Pogba's "strong character" will not be affected despite the abuse.

"Paul's fine, Paul's a strong character and it makes him stronger," said the Norwegian. "I just cannot believe we're still here in 2019 talking about these instances.

"Social media is a place where people can hide behind fake identities and we've got to do something about it. We need to protect individuals and protect people. When there are death threats and racism, it's serious allegations."

Meanwhile, he is bracing for a tough game against Palace today.

"They're a very well organised team, they've pace up front, good counter-attacks, big on set-pieces and we have to do all parts of the game," the 46-year-old said.

"We have to attack well, win the ball back when we lose it and be strong on set plays. When you're fit you're mentally strong as well."

Solskjaer also confirmed talks are ongoing in an effort to offload forward Alexis Sanchez to Inter Milan on loan before the European transfer window closes on Sept 2.

"There are still talks with some clubs," he said. "He's working hard and let's see in September what's going to happen."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE GUARDIAN


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 24, 2019, with the headline 'Solskjaer keeps faith in Pogba'. Print Edition | Subscribe