Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has backed Paul Pogba to score more penalties for Manchester United.
The French midfielder was criticised for taking a spot-kick in Monday’s draw with Wolves, ahead of Marcus Rashford, and then seeing it saved by Rui Patricio.
Pogba has now missed four of his 11 attempts in the Premier League, but Solskjaer said: “I’m sure you’re going to see Paul Pogba score a penalty for Man United again. Definitely.
“Let’s see when we get the next one. We’re practising penalties still and Marcus and Paul are still on them.”
Ole on @PaulPogba: "He's a strong character. When you speak to him he's fine and I just cannot believe we're still sitting here in 2019 talking about these instances." #MUFCpic.twitter.com/CdcczOV5M0— Manchester United (@ManUtd) August 23, 2019
Television pundit and former United player Gary Neville branded the situation “embarrassing” but Solskjaer insisted it had not been Pogba taking the ball off Rashford, with the two men sharing penalty duties.
Solskjaer also defended his own authority, saying: “It’s not that I’ve left it to the players to sort out, we’ve nominated two. It’s not like there’s anarchy and do whatever you want. Last season we had Marcus, Jesse (Lingard), Paul who all scored penalties, probably more as well.
“(There’s) absolutely no fighting among them. We’re disappointed that we didn’t win the game but the talk is always more difficult when you don’t get a result.”
Pogba was subjected to racist abuse on social media after the game, and representatives of Twitter are planning to meet officials at United to discuss the situation.
Solskjaer said: “Paul’s fine. Paul’s a strong character and it makes him stronger. I just cannot believe we still sit here in 2019 talking about these instances.
“Social media is a place where, as Harry (Maguire) said, people can hide behind fake identities. I don’t think it’s down to me to change it but we’ve got to do something about it and the authorities have got to do something about these ones that spread this hate.
“You just feel sorry for them really. They must have problems themselves when they have to do this.
“We’re not going to ban our players on social media. We have to spread the good word because it’s so much good we can use social media for but we have to stop those incidents, definitely.”
Solskjaer, meanwhile, declined to respond to Romelu Lukaku’s claims in an interview on NBA player Josh Hart’s LightHarted podcast that he did not feel protected by the club and was made a scapegoat when things were not going well.
“I’m not going to dive into that one,” said the United boss of the former Red Devils striker. “I think that interview was made before the summer when he was a Man United player so I think I’d rather not.”
Lukaku is now an Inter Milan player and he could yet be joined by striker Alexis Sanchez, who is out of the first-team picture at Old Trafford.
The Chilean played in a behind-closed-doors friendly against Sheffield United this week, and Solskjaer said: “There’s still talks with some clubs but he played in that game and he played well. He’s working hard and let’s see in September what’s going to happen.”
United will look to get back to winning ways when Crystal Palace visit Old Trafford on Saturday.
The equivalent game last season ended in a goalless draw and saw then manager Jose Mourinho criticise his players for a lack of heart.
Solskjaer said: “I didn’t watch the game last year, I think we had a game ourselves with Molde, but I heard they had a few counter-attacks, Wilf (Zaha) was close to scoring.
“But pre-season has been very encouraging, team spirit great. We’ve got loads of energy and passion. You can see the way we went about the game against Wolverhampton, I thought our pressing was excellent. We gave them five minutes in the second half, that was it really.
“The engine looks so much better, everyone’s fit, and when you’re physically fit it’s easy to be mentally strong as well.”
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