Pogba: Tackle for penalty a stupid mistake
Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba admitted he made a “stupid mistake” in conceding the penalty that allowed Arsenal to secure their first league win at Old Trafford since 2006.
Pogba held up his hands, saying he was “hitting myself” for the foul on Hector Bellerin which gave Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang the chance to score the winner from the spot.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said the penalty incident was the difference – Pogba has now conceded three penalties in the Premier League under Solskjaer, with no other United player conceding more than one.
“I cannot give a foul away like this,” said Pogba. “I felt like I touched him a bit. I knew I was in the box, I should not have given a penalty away like that. Maybe I was a bit out of breath, it made me do this stupid mistake. I am not the best defensively in the box, I can work on that.
“The team has my back but I am just hitting myself. We lost the game because of a stupid mistake like that.”
Solskjaer said his team lacked intensity and were “too sloppy” in possession as Arsenal controlled the midfield through Thomas Partey and Mohamed Elneny.
“From the first half we never turned up,” said Solskjaer. “They were better than us. We have to turn up with more intensity. We were too sloppy, too many passes went astray.”
The victory ended Arsenal’s 29-game wait for a win in an away game against the so-called ‘big six’ and Mikel Arteta praised his side. After seven games of the campaign, Arsenal now have the best defensive record in the Premier League despite already playing Manchester City, Liverpool and United away from home.
“I wanted to generate belief and I asked them to be who we are as a team right now,” said Arteta. “I am delighted because we played with a lot of courage and big personality.
“Individually you have to win the fights and step up to the occasion. The performance of every player was top drawer.”
There was another impressive performance from centre-back Gabriel Magalhaes, who excelled alongside Rob Holding at the heart of Arsenal’s defence. Holding had missed the last four games through injury and had only taken part in one training session before this game.
“That is the culture we are trying to create,” said Arteta. “Rob has the determination and willingness all the time to work hard and put himself on the line.”
Bernd Leno, the Arsenal goalkeeper, added: “It was a very collective, strong performance from us. Everybody had the right attitude and mentality to win. It was very hard for United to create chances. At the end of the day, this is the key.
“The collective performance and defensive work were really important and I think we’ve worked on that.
“You can already see that it’s much more impressive than it was one or two years ago.”