Paul Pogba defended his controversial challenge on Ruben Neves on Sunday, the Manchester United midfielder hitting back at Graeme Souness.
Pogba collided with Wolves star Neves in the build-up to Mason Greenwood’s winner at Molineux. The 1-0 win proved to be a historic one for the visitors, who set a record for the longest Premier League away unbeaten run. However, the incident leading up to the strike has stolen the headlines.
Pogba appeared to have his right stud showing and his foot collided with Neves, who was attempting a pass.
The incident received such a big spotlight because Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka received a straight red card for a similar challenge on Manchester City’s Joao Cancelo on Saturday.
However, Mike Dean did not take any action on Pogba’s tackle this time around. Speaking to Sky Sports after the game, though, Souness slammed the France international and the referee, calling the challenge a “leg-breaker”.
“The referee is there to referee the game, he’s two metres away. Whether Neves goes down or doesn’t go down – that is immaterial,” the pundit said.
“That is a leg breaker. Look how close the referee is, that’s a leg breaker.
“Any player who has ever played the game, he’s standing two yards away from it, they will tell you that’s a dangerous challenge.
“That referee has deemed that not a foul. That is impossible for anyone who knows anything about football to say that’s not a foul.”
Roy Keane added: “If they’d have given the foul straight away not one United player would’ve complained – not one. He’s off his feet and he catches him.”
However, Pogba took Souness on in his own interview after the match.
Pogba responds to Souness rant
“I didn’t touch him,” Pogba said. “This is the Premier League, it was a 50-50, every weekend that is happening.
“We win the ball and we scored.”
Portuguese player Neves also had his say, insisting that Dean should have blown for a foul.
He even wondered whether Dean let Pogba off because Bruno Fernandes did not receive a free-kick following a challenge which led to Southampton’s opener last weekend.
“Everyone saw it, everyone saw my leg, we always do meetings and everything with referees about VAR, I don’t know why,” Neves said.
“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.”
Both sides head into the first international break of the season fourth and 18th, respectively, in the Premier League table.
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