Dean Smith slams 'pathetic' call to award Manchester United a penalty after challenge on Paul Pogba


Dean Smith slams ‘pathetic’ decision to award Manchester United a penalty after a challenge on Paul Pogba – with Aston Villa boss insisting he is ‘fed up’ of discussing Red Devils spot-kicks

  • Smith’s Villa side took the lead in the first half through winger Bertrand Traore 
  • United equalised via Bruno Fernandes after Chris Kavanagh awarded a penalty
  • The visitors went on to win 3-1, but Smith was again unhappy with the officials 

Dean Smith hit out at the ‘pathetic decision’ to award Manchester United a penalty for Douglas Luiz’s challenge on Paul Pogba at Villa Park on Sunday.

The same two players were involved in an incident that led to Bruno Fernandes scoring United’s winner from the spot at Old Trafford in January.

Fernandes also converted a penalty at Villa Park last season when he was fouled by Ezri Konsa.

Aston Villa's Dean Smith has slammed the 'pathetic' decision to award a penalty to Paul Pogba

Aston Villa’s Dean Smith has slammed the ‘pathetic’ decision to award a penalty to Paul Pogba

The Manchester United midfielder was adjudged to have been caught by Villa's Douglas Luiz

The Manchester United midfielder was adjudged to have been caught by Villa’s Douglas Luiz

Bruno Fernandes scored the spot-kick to equalise, and United went on to beat Smith's side 3-1

Bruno Fernandes scored the spot-kick to equalise, and United went on to beat Smith’s side 3-1

Former referee Mark Clattenburg: My verdict

Come off it Dean, it’s a clear penalty! 

The penalty was an absolute gift for Manchester United from Douglas Luiz. Paul Pogba had his back to the Aston Villa goal and was going nowhere. 

Yet Luiz committed his challenge from behind, right in front of referee Chris Kavanagh, and didn’t get the ball.

You could see from the reaction of the Villa players that they knew Luiz had made a mistake.

Pogba had been clever in getting his body between his opponent and the ball. The Frenchman then felt the tackle come into the back of him.

He went down, Kavanagh pointed to the spot and United had been gifted a route back into the game. 

And the Portuguese scored a spot kick for the third time against Villa on Sunday to make it 1-1.

Villa manager Smith felt Pogba went down far too easily again to sway referee Chris Kavanagh’s decision, which was confirmed by VAR.

‘I’m fed up with talking about penalty decisions against Man United,’ said Smith. ‘Paul Pogba tripped himself up at Old Trafford and it’s another soft pen today. Douglas Luiz shouldn’t have planted a foot or given him the opportunity to go down.

‘But it looked a pathetic decision to me. Was that enough for him to go down? No. But he goes down, similar at Old Trafford, similar last season here, and I said that before the game.

‘Everybody’s confused that Raheem Sterling can go through last night (for Manchester City against Chelsea), have four of five touches on his backside, go down and not get a penalty.

‘Then there’s one touch and we go down and it’s a penalty (for Pogba). The whole of the football world is confused at the moment.’

Smith also criticised the decision to show Villa striker Ollie Watkins a second yellow card for diving after he went down under goalkeeper Dean Henderson’s challenge late in the game.

‘There’s no way the referee can tell me that he’s convinced he (Watkins) hasn’t been touched,’ added the Villa manager. 

And the frustrated Villa boss (above) blasted the officials after the match for their decision

And the frustrated Villa boss (above) blasted the officials after the match for their decision

‘I just don’t understand the decision-making of the officials at the moment and, more important, Stockley Park when they’re actually looking at it slowly. It looks like now he’s going to have to get hurt to win the penalty. 

‘He touches it past the goalkeeper. Is there enough contact for Ollie to go down? No. But like I said, there wasn’t enough for Pogba to go down.’

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said he doesn’t expect Manchester City to slip up in the title race but was happy to see his team secure a Champions League place ahead of this week’s games against Leicester and Liverpool.

‘It’s a massive result,’ said Solskjaer. ‘It takes a little bit of the pressure away.’  

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