Paul Pogba: Manchester United midfielder made ‘stupid mistake’ with Arsenal penalty


Paul Pogba has admitted to making a “stupid mistake” in giving Arsenal their victory at Manchester United.

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reckoned Sunday’s game at Old Trafford was “0-0 all over” until Pogba unnecessarily rushed to Hector Bellerin midway through the second half.

Bellerin appeared to be in a safe position when Pogba came in and only managed to kick the Spaniard, taking the penalty that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang converted to settle the game.

“Maybe I was a little out of breath and it made me make this stupid mistake,” the France international told BBC Sport.

“I felt like I was touching him a bit and I knew I was in the box. I shouldn’t have given a penalty like that.

“I’m not the best defensively in the box, but I can learn and work on it. “

It was the third time Pogba, 27, has conceded a penalty while Solskjaer was United coach. No one else has conceded more than one.

“Paul raised his hand,” said Solskjaer, who was overseeing his 100th game as United boss.

Pogba has conceded three penalties since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer became Manchester United boss

“He knows he could and should have done better in this case. He knows that if he stays standing it will be OK because the boy is not going anywhere.

What does Pogba’s future hold?

Pogba’s mistake will once again draw negative headlines around a player who elicits extreme reactions, both positive and negative.

No one will ever be able to know what the future of Pogba would have been if the coronavirus pandemic had not torn the financial structure of the big European clubs.

Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane has never hidden his desire to bring his compatriot to the Bernabeu stadium.

However, even before the last seven months, Real’s finances had not extended to the kind of fees United wanted for a player they bought from Juventus for £ 90million in 2016.

The odds of that happening in the final closing season were nonexistent and it didn’t seem like an accident that Pogba’s high profile and confrontational agent Mino Raiola recently spoke about a contract extension.

A one-year option has been triggered, carrying Pogba’s current deal until 2022. However, its effectiveness on the ground remains the subject of huge debate.

Even removing the penalty against Arsenal, he combined mixed statistics of good passing accuracy – 87.5%, United’s best forwards – with the fact that he lost possession 15 times, with no teammate giving away the ball more frequently.

Scott McTominay was the only teammate to cover more ground than Pogba’s 10.26km, but there were no shots, a bad comeback for someone seen primarily as an attacking threat.

Obviously, a point has been reached where a major decision must be made. If United come up with a new deal, it will be huge. If they don’t, they risk losing it for nothing. Based on current data, both options could be considered a bet.

Solskjaer’s immediate imperative is to get more from a player who tends to reserve his most effective performances for the international arena.

“We have to do better, the team and I, but it starts with me,” Pogba said.

“I cost us the goal today with the penalty, but it was a bad team performance. We have to do a lot better. “

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