Gary Neville has torn strips off Paul Pogba, describing his handball against West Ham as “appalling” and “embarrassing”.
Manchester United climbed into the Premier League top four with a 1-1 draw against the Hammers on Wednesday, but they trailed to Michail Antonio's spot-kick after Pogba inexplicably handled inside his own area.
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Pogba opted to use his hands to cover his face and block Declan Rice’s free-kick, leaving Neville gobsmacked in commentary for Sky Sports.
“He's in big, big trouble Paul Pogba. He's given away a penalty and pretended it’s hit his head. It’s rubbish from him. Embarrassing,” Neville said.
“Forget the fact that it's an appalling lack of discipline from Paul Pogba, in terms of giving the penalty away.
“There is no case for him putting has arms up at all.
“He can duck out of the way if he wants, but he can't put his arms up. It’s caused Man United a very big problem.”
Neville’s former teammate at United, Patrice Evra was also critical.
“It's difficult to defend Paul on this one,” Evra added.
“I think Paul knows he made a big mistake. All Man United fans right now want to see Paul bleeding, even if the ball broke his nose.”
Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and teammate Harry McGuire agreed that Pogba should have taken the hit to the face.
“It was a natural reaction, he held his hand up knowing he should have taken it in the mush instead,” Solskjaer said after the game.
McGuire added: “It was soft. You could say it's a natural reaction from Paul. Should he do it? He should probably take one in the face.
“But he's apologised in there, he's held his hands up, he knew he shouldn't do that.
“I think it's a natural instinct to protect yourself, protect your face. I haven't seen it back - I think it was his hands bang in front of his face.
“But it was soft because it's probably not ending up in a goal and you've given a penalty and they've got an amazing opportunity to take the lead.”
Antonio joking about Pogba's handball with Bruno Fernandes— Football Daily (@footballdaily) July 22, 2020
Look at Pogba's face 😭 pic.twitter.com/2U9jzbzhFL
Manchester United on cusp of Champions League
Mason Greenwood’s second-half equaliser means Man United now go into the final game of the season against Leicester on Sunday knowing a point will be enough to secure them Champions League football next season.
But even that could be a tough ask after another tired performance from Solskjaer’s side.
“Going into half-time we knew that’s not the result we wanted and a draw or 1-0 win or 2-0 was the same outcome for us it would mean same starting point in Sunday,” he said.
“We can’t expect to turn teams over and score three or five which is what we would have to have done to have a different scenario for Sunday.”
Solskjaer added: “We have a chance go there and if we can beat them big we will be delighted we have caught up with goal difference and we now need a point.”
with Stats Perform