Football News

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer explains ‘tombola’ penalty decision that cost Man Utd three points vs Wolves

By Ben Green

Published: 22:41, 19 August 2019

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has explained that because both Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford are designated penalty takers, it is up to them to decide in the moment.

The Red Devils squandered the chance to extend their perfect start to the new Premier League season after Pogba missed a second half penalty against Wolves in the club’s 1-1 draw at Molineux on Monday night.

What is the ‘tombola’ penalty decision? Five things to know…

  • Man Utd played out a 1-1 draw against Wolves on Monday night.
  • Solskjaer’s side had taken the lead through Anthony Martial before Ruben Neves equalised.
  • Pogba then had the chance to score from the spot, but drew a save from Rui Patricio.
  • Rashford had taken the penalty a week prior against Chelsea, which is why many were confused why he wasn’t on duty again at Molineux.
  • After the match Gary Neville was notably enraged, explaining how “this is not a tombola, this is not a five-a-side on the playground”.

Pogba had initially won the penalty after rounding Conor Coady, but with Marcus Rashford having netted a confidence penalty against Chelsea in the opening match of the season, fans and pundits were confused why the Frenchman stepped up instead.

His effort was saved by Rui Patricio, meaning he now only has a 64% penalty success rate, the fifth lowest in Premier League history for players to have taken over 10.

This sparked backlash from Gary Neville, who after the match didn’t mince his words when he told Sky Sports: “This is a Manchester United penalty, this is not a tombola, this is not a five-a-side on the playground.

“Daniel James is saying to Rashford ‘Is this right? You scored last week mate.’ Then Rashford even throws the ball to Pogba, that’s what makes me feel that Pogba is the actual taker. Something’s not right here.”

However, Solskjaer has now chimed in on the debate, explaining how both players have responsibilities from the spot, but it is up to them to decide in the moment.

He said: “Because the two of them are designated penalty shooters. It’s up to them there and then to decide ‘this is mine’.

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“Sometimes players feel they are confident enough to score. Today, Patricio made a good save. [Does that change?] No, not at all. I like players being confident and the feeling of ‘I can do this’.”

While this may have cleared it up for some, it didn’t stop Neville expressing his discontent with the manner in which the decisive moment manifested.

The former right-back added: “Even if the players have been told to decide who takes the penalties themselves, it’s not spin the bottle; the player that scores last week takes the penalty this week.”