Manchester United manager, Jose Mourinho, has played down the perceived rift between Paul Pogba and Alexis Sanchez, over who the team’s designated penalty taker is.
United went 1-0 up against Leicester City inside three minutes of Friday night’s Premier League curtain raiser, after a handball from Daniel Amartey, with Luke Shaw scoring the decisive goal late on in a 2-1 win at Old Trafford.
However, before the early spot-kick was dispatched by Pogba, Sanchez tried to take the ball off his teammate.
Mourinho, speaking in the mixed zone after the game, insisted the Frenchman did not break rank.
“The thinking was that he is a very good penalty taker and he likes the responsibility of it and he’s the first choice.
“Of course on the pitch we have a second and third choice, in case of not confidence or for some reason does not want to take, but he was ready.
“And of course he trained lots of penalties during the World Cup – because it’s something that, in a competition like that, every player trains a lot – and he was very confident. Schmeichel is very good on penalties but no chance,” he said.
Pogba took a series of small, slow steps before finally striking the ball, but Mourinho had no qualms about his technique.
The Portuguese coach added: “The run up doesn’t matter, what matters is the quality and the intensity. You could feel that the direction was impossible for Schmeichel.
“I think Schmeichel goes to the same side, he goes to the same corner but no wings to arrive there. Only with wings [could he save it]. So it’s fantastic penalty.”