Football

Maguire on Pogba's handball: He should have taken one in the face

Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba has apologised to his teammates for handling the ball in the 1-1 draw with West Ham United yesterday morning (Singapore time), revealed captain Harry Maguire.

The Frenchman used his hands to block Declan Rice's shot, which resulted in a penalty that was converted by Michail Antonio just before the break.

But teenage forward Mason Greenwood struck after the interval to lift United into third place in the English Premier League.

"It was soft. You can say it's a natural reaction from Paul, should he do it? He probably should take one in the face," Maguire told Sky Sports.

"He apologised in there, he held his hands up. He knows he shouldn't do that, it's a natural instinct to protect your face.

"I haven't seen it back, I think his hands were bang in front of his face. It was soft because it wouldn't have ended up in a goal but you give them a penalty."

United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer added: "It was a natural reaction, he held his hand up knowing he should have taken it in the mush instead.

"But it's a natural reaction when that ball comes flying at 100mph. It wouldn't have made a difference any way."

Pogba's reaction after the incident did give the impression that the ball had hit him in the face, before a video assistant referee review confirmed that he had raised his arms to block Rice's shot instead.

Former United defender Gary Neville, who was on commentary duty, did not mince words in his criticism of United's record signing, saying: "He's given a penalty away then pretended it's hit his head... That's rubbish from him."

United, who were playing their fourth game in nine days, could not find the winner after Greenwood's equaliser, but stayed third on goal difference as fourth-placed Chelsea lost 5-3 at Liverpool.

The Red Devils need just a draw against Leicester City on Sunday to secure a top-four finish. Chelsea will also need just a point from their last match at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers to reach next season's Champions League.

See also: LAMPARD ANGRY WITH REDS

Football