Football

Man United midfielder Paul Pogba admits fault for ‘stupid’ penalty

Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba took the blame for his team's 1-0 English Premier League home defeat by Arsenal, after giving away the second-half penalty that decided the outcome.

Pogba clipped the foot of Hector Bellerin with a poorly judged challenge inside the box, which he described as "stupid", and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang converted the spot-kick.

"I cannot give a foul away like this," Pogba, who was recalled to the Red Devils' EPL starting line-up since the 6-1 home defeat by Tottenham Hotspur last month, told the BBC.

"I thought I would touch the ball, but I didn't. (It) cost us the goal today with the penalty.

"I shouldn't have given a penalty away like that. Maybe I was a bit out of breath, it made me do this stupid mistake...

"I'm not the best defensively in the box, I can work on that."

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was disappointed with his team's display and did not spare Pogba, 27, from criticism.

"He needs to stay on his feet. Paul knows it's a soft penalty to give away," said the Norwegian.

"We were too sloppy, too many passes went astray and the rotation was not there. Too many things that can go wrong in a game did for us today.

"We didn't get the response we hoped for. In the first half, we never turned up. The intensity, the tempo weren't there, the shape - they were better than us and created a couple of half-decent chances.

"We played better in the second half, but still we have to turn up with more intensity."

It was the Gunners' first league win at Old Trafford since 2006 and midfielder Thomas Partey was pivotal to their disciplined performance.

Former United midfield enforcer Roy Keane praised the 27-year-old Ghanaian, saying he reminded him of Arsenal great Patrick Vieira.

"Partey was outstanding. The more I look at him, the more I wish he was in the United midfield," Keane told Sky Sports.

"He's big, strong, aggressive and he can pass it forward. He can deal with the ball. I had my battles with Vieira and this kid has a chance of matching what Patrick used to do."

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta was also impressed with Partey and centre-back Gabriel Magalhaes, saying: "They played with a lot of maturity and they looked like they've been here longer than they actually have.

"I also see the spirit they are creating and the personality they are showing." - REUTERS

Football