Andy Cole says he was left scratching his head by Gary Neville’s strong criticism of Paul Pogba’s missed penalty for Manchester United.
Despite Marcus Rashford boasting a perfect record from 12 yards, it was Pogba who took United’s spot-kick against Wolves on Monday after a discussion with his teammate.
Pogba subsequently saw his penalty saved, leading Neville to describe the Frenchman taking it off Rashford as an ‘act of treachery’.
But Cole does not share the same view as his former teammate, telling talkSPORT: “I didn’t see Marcus kick up a stink about it so Marcus was comfortable about giving him the penalty.
“We are talking about Paul missing a penalty when the goalkeeper makes a very, very good save.
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“I get on well with Gary Neville, but when people start talking about treachery and all that… come on, this is a sport. Let’s get real. We love football but when we start talking on those levels, he left me scratching my head a little bit.
“He didn’t do it on purpose. The goalkeeper made a very good save. Yes, Marcus scored a penalty against Chelsea the week before but if Marcus was comfortable and Paul was comfortable we have to get on with it and move on.”
Cole went on to say that Pogba will be hurt and bitterly disappointed by the abuse he has received on social media in the wake of his missed penalty.
The Frenchman became the latest high-profile player to be racially abused online this week, leading for greater calls for Twitter to take stronger action against offenders on their platform.
“Of course it can affect you because we’re human,” said Cole. “People think ‘ah, he’s earning all this money, he should be able to accept it and get on with it’. But it doesn’t work like that,
“Behind closed doors, it does hurt. You are no different to anybody else. You are human and when people say certain things about you, it bitterly disappoints you. There’s no doubt Paul will be bitterly disappointed.
“He is still smiling, still laughing but it hurts, definitely.”
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Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham and Reading’s Yakou Meite have also been targeted in similar ways after failing to score spot-kicks in the past week.
Cole added: “It disappoints you, it disappoints your family and it disappoints your teammates.
“It [social media] gives them a platform to do it but it is a problem in society as well. We need to tidy up in society first.
“Over the past three, four years, this problem has really reared its head and it’s disappointing we are not trying to get hold of it.”
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