Manchester United captain Harry Maguire has revealed that midfielder Paul Pogba apologised to the rest of his teammates for giving away a penalty in Wednesday's 1-1 draw with West Ham.
Pogba raised his arms towards his face to stop himself from being hit by an incoming shot, but the ball ricocheted off his hand and forced the referee to award a penalty, from which Michail Antonio stepped up to leave United facing a final-day playoff against Leicester City to seal Champions League football.
"It was soft. You can say it's a natural reaction from Paul, should he do it? He probably should take one in the face," Maguire confessed.
"He apologised in there, he held his hands up. He knows he shouldn't do that, it's a natural instinct to protect yourself, to protect your face. I haven't seen it back, I think his hands were bang in front of his face. It was soft because it wouldn't have ended up in a goal but you give them a penalty and an amazing opportunity to take the lead."
Michail Antonio certainly saw the funny side of Paul Pogba's handball! ?— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) July 22, 2020
The Frenchman did not look impressed... ?
Report as #WHUFC secure their Premier League safety with Old Trafford draw: https://t.co/WfrHcIMHZi pic.twitter.com/eKdInua01H
Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer shared a similar point of view, refusing to criticise Pogba for something which he probably didn't even do intentionally.
"It's a natural reaction, Paul's held his hand up knowing he should have taken it in the mush but it's a natural reaction when that ball comes flying at 100mph," he said (via Manchester Evening News). "It wouldn't have made a difference anyway.
"Going into half time we knew that that's not the result we wanted and a draw, or a 1-0 win or a 2-0 win was more or less the same outcome for us, and that we would have the same starting point on Sunday.
"When we started after the lockdown we had to go for it, and we really had to go for it. We had to go for goal difference, we had to go for points, and the effort has been fantastic and the results have been fantastic.
"Of course, you would like to win against Southampton, you concede in the last second, and today you concede in the last second of the first half. But we've given ourselves a fantastic opportunity and a great starting point for Sunday."