Jermaine Jenas voiced his disagreement with Paul Pogba over the incident that led to the winning goal for Manchester United against Wolves on Sunday.
Man Utd beat Wolves by a single goal, scored by Mason Greenwood in the 80th minute, to earn a second win of the season at the weekend. But it was a tough battle and their opponents will have felt hard done by. There appeared to be a foul by Pogba on Ruben Neves in the buildup to Greenwood’s goal.
Pogba’s first touch was loose, after which he lunged to get the ball back from Neves. Possession recycled back into United’s favour, after which they worked it to Greenwood to finish.
Wolves felt aggrieved because Pogba appeared to be too forceful with his challenge on Neves. The Portuguese midfielder came off worse for wear and insisted after the game that he should have been awarded a free kick.
“Everyone saw it. Everyone saw my leg. We always do meetings and everything with referees about VAR, I don’t know why,” Neves told Sky Sports.
“They said before the season started they will look for contact – if the contact is strong enough, they will give the foul, I showed them my leg.
“I think maybe because last game it was a foul before the Southampton goal, maybe now they did the opposite. I showed my leg to the ref, I showed to the assistant ref, I cannot say anything more.
“After the game he said ‘you both go to the ball’ and I said ‘yes, we both go to win the ball but I was the one who touched the ball’. It’s a foul, a clear foul.”
But Pogba, in his own assessment, described the challenge as a 50-50.
“I didn’t touch him,” Pogba insisted on Sky Sports. “This is the Premier League. It was a 50-50; every weekend that is happening.
“We win the ball and we scored.”
Analysing the game for Match of the Day 2, though, former Premier League midfielder Jenas took the side of Neves.
Jenas said: “Paul Pogba there, in the interview that we just witnessed, he said it is a 50-50.
“It’s not, it’s 60-40 in Neves’s favour. It’s a bad touch from Paul Pogba. The ball gets away from him, and he’s reaching and he’s stretching.”
Ultimately, the referee and VAR did not notice anything untoward and the goal was allowed to stand.
It means United are on seven points from their opening three games, but Wolves remain on zero after losing every league match so far under new boss Bruno Lage.
Lage unhappy with Man Utd over Pogba, Neves aftermath
Wolves boss Lage criticised United after the game for not putting the ball out when Neves was down injured.
Lage complained: “Same situation, 30 minutes in the first half, we have a good transition for us, same place and Semedo put the ball out because Pogba told him to. The image is very clear.
“Then 80 minutes, Marcal said to the guy who scored the goal [Greenwood] to put the ball out and they shoot at goal. Ruben was down and they scored the goal.”
Wolves’ first game after the international break will be away to Watford, while Man Utd have a home game against Newcastle to prepare for.