It was a conversation, not an argument, as Marcus Rashford approached Paul Pogba in the 67th minute at Molineux with the score at 1-1.
United had been awarded a penalty, but Rashford, despite scoring from the spot so emphatically against Chelsea last weekend, simply shook Pogba’s hand, patted him on the chest, and agreed that the Frenchman should take.
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"Before he took the penalty I was fuming,” Gary Neville told Sky Sports after the match. "Why is there a debate on who takes the penalty? I don't like it. There should never be a debate.”
It is fair to say Neville’s anger was fuelled by what happened next, as Pogba saw his penalty saved by Rui Patricio – the fourth the midfielder has missed in 12 months.
“You'd think he has had his chance,” Neville added. “Rashford scored last week - take the penalty. But there wasn't a leader out there. Something wasn't right. They couldn't make a decision between them.”
In one failed swoop of his right foot, Pogba swayed the post-match conversation towards questions about the club's penalty strategy rather than the blistering attacks and intricate link-up play which would have helped them top the Premier League table had they won.
Neville went on to point out United’s penalty against Chelsea last weekend, highlighting how it appeared Rashford had that time taken it off Pogba.
“That’s then caused a problem this week. It isn’t right. We don’t come on air tonight and ask each other which pieces of analysis we’re doing – we decide before we come on. They should decide in the dressing room – it’s embarrassing.
This is a Manchester United penalty – this isn’t a tombola. This is not under-fives football on the playground.
Damning words from the former United captain, and while this miss will not have a bearing on the title race, it was a damaging one due to the opposition…
United fail to silence top-six ‘wannabe’
United lost twice at Molineux last season, in the league and FA Cup, while Wolves also beat Chelsea and Arsenal at home in the 2018-19 campaign, as well as winning away at Tottenham.
Wolves’ ability to fire themselves up for encounters with the top-six sides was not matched against lesser opposition, with defeats to relegated duo Huddersfield (twice) and Cardiff standing among their 13 losses as they ultimately finished seventh, nine points behind United.
Anthony Martial a ouvert le score pour Manchester United en Premier League, sur le terrain de Wolverhampton.
Image credit: Getty Images
On Monday, Wolves started surprisingly flat as they looked to set out their top-six ambitions once more, with United taking advantage as a swift attack was finished by Anthony Martial in style in the first half.
But Wolves valiantly battled back into the match, and roared on by a boisterous home crowd, they levelled thanks to Ruben Neves’ stunner 10 minutes after the break.
Pogba could have then put Wolves to the sword, but instead of sending a message and resigning a top-six hopeful to defeat, he made headlines for the wrong reasons.
Ole won’t budge
After the match, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insisted he would not budge after revealing it is up to Rashford and Pogba to decide who takes each penalty.
Solskjaer said: "The two of them are the designated penalty shooters. It’s up to them there and then to decide that ‘this is mine’. Sometimes players feel they are confident enough – Paul has scored so many penalties for us, today Patricio made a good save."
Asked if he would rethink his strategy, Solskjaer added: "Not at all. The two have been very confident before – the other week Marcus scored a goal but Paul was confident. I like players to be confident."
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