'Pogba didn't do it on purpose!' – Neville’s penalty criticism questioned by fellow Man Utd Treble winner Cole

The former Red Devils full-back was not impressed to see the Frenchman on spot-kick duty at Wolves, but Andy Cole has sought to offer a defence

Gary Neville’s criticism of Paul Pogba being on penalty duty in Manchester United’s 1-1 draw at Wolves has been questioned by fellow 1999 Treble winner Andy Cole.

The former Red Devils defender hit out the World Cup-winning midfielder for stepping up to the spot at Molineux when Marcus Rashford had previously converted in a 4-0 win over Chelsea.

Pogba fluffed his lines against Wolves, with Rui Patricio beating his effort away, and abuse has come the way of a player who has been a scapegoat at Old Trafford for some time.

Cole is surprised to see former United stars being so harsh on the Frenchman, believing it wrong to suggest that Pogba’s decision to take the ball can be considered a form of “treachery”.

“I didn’t see Marcus kick up a stink about it so Marcus was comfortable about giving him the penalty,” former Red Devils striker Cole told talkSPORT.

“We are talking about Paul missing a penalty when the goalkeeper makes a very, very good save.

“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 believes Pogba will be hurting as much as anyone after spurning the opportunity to collect three more points for United.

He added: “Of course it can affect you because we’re human.

“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.”

Pogba was subjected to racist abuse online after missing against Wolves, but United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has backed him to offer the perfect response to his detractors and online trolls.

The 26-year-old is likely to be back in action on Saturday when the Red Devils play host to Crystal Palace.

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