Paul Pogba and Jose Mourinho explain how Man United's penalty takers were decided

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Football News

Four days ago Manchester United were criticised by some for their negative tactics during the 0-0 draw with Liverpool.

No such critique could be aimed at Jose Mourinho after they blew away Fenerbahce 4-1 in the Europa League on Thursday night.

It did look like it was going to be a similarly dull affair during the first half an hour, though, as the Red Devils struggled to break down the away side, despite dominating possession.

Nevertheless, the floodgates soon opened after Juan Mata was fouled in the box to give Man United the chance to break the deadlock from the penalty spot.

You could have put your house on Wayne Rooney scoring from 12 yards and it looked like it was almost a foregone conclusion as he started taking the ball towards the spot.

And yet one conversation with Paul Pogba later and it was the French international who dispatched the penalty. So what changed?

Pogba, who went on to grab a second goal with a beautiful finish from outside the box, explained after the game what happened.

"It’s Wazza or myself [to take the penalties] but I told him I wanted to take it and he let me take it," Pogba told BT Sport.

"So I’m very happy to score that penalty and from a player like him, the captain Wayne Rooney, to let me take the penalty is a big respect so I’m very glad for that."

That might clear up the first penalty but what about the second one just two minutes later?

This time it was Anthony Martial who was illegally brought down and despite the Old Trafford crowd urging Rooney to take the resulting spot-kick, it wasn't the captain to step up.

Martial took it himself and calmly slotted the ball into the bottom corner.

Manager Jose Mourinho offered some sort of explanation behind it but even he didn't sound entirely sure.

"The first penalty taker was Paul - we made the decision," Mourinho said.

"He didn't want to repeat because it's a second penalty a couple of minutes later. Probably because Martial won it and he's a good penalty taker.

"It's not a problem for me. I always give an indication of the one that has the responsibility [Pogba] but leave freedom for the players on the pitch [to make the decision]."

Well, that clears that up (sort of). At the end of the day, they were both converted and that's all Mourinho will care about.

Wayne Rooney
Paul Pogba
Premier League
Manchester United
Europa League
Jose Mourinho

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