Paul Pogba has apologised for the “stupid mistake” that saw Manchester United beaten at home to Arsenal and left the midfielder vowing to make big improvements to his game.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s 100th match at the wheel ended in a disappointing 1-0 defeat at Old Trafford. It also left the Red Devils winless in their first four home league matches for the first time since 1972-73.
In addition, it helped Arsenal end their 29-match winless Premier League run away to big-six sides.
United were a shell of the side that hammered RB Leipzig in the Champions League.
It left Solskjaer to reflect on a “mentality issue” with his players – and to scold Pogba for his blunder.
It was the Gunners’ first league win at Old Trafford since 2006 – and first at a big-six rival since January 2015. Pogba’s needless penalty-box challenge on Hector Bellerin proved to be the decisive moment.
“We know it’s a poor performance,” the midfielder told the BBC. “Myself, I cannot give a foul away like this.
“I thought I would touch the ball but I didn’t. (I) cost us the goal today with the penalty.
“Like I say, details. We have to do better, the team, myself, it starts with me.
“I felt like I touched him a bit, I knew I was in the box, 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 will learn from that, I’m not the best defensively in the box, I can work on that.”
Solskjaer echoed Pogba’s view after a match that looked set for a 0-0 draw.
“Paul knows if he stays on his feet and he shuffles the boy… because he was on his way out of the box. It’s a soft pen to give away,” he said. “Those things happen.
“I know he touched him enough to give away a pen and that went against us. Paul held his hand up and he knows he could and should have done better in that instance.
“That was the difference between the teams today. It always looked like a 0-0 to me.”
Solskjaer laments lack of fighting spirit
Roy Keane was far from impressed by his former club’s performance. Speaking to Sky Sports, Keane was critical, saying there were “no guys you want to be in the trenches with, guys you trust”.
Solskjaer, when told of Keane’s comments, appeared to agree with the pundit.
“Well, in the first half there were no tackles, no fighting, you have got to create atmosphere yourself.
“These games against Arsenal were always fierce, tackles flying.
“We didn’t have the tempo or intensity for that, absolutely. I was disappointed with the first-half performance.
“In the second half we were better. Unfortunately, they got the penalty and we just couldn’t produce the response.”