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‘Pogba’s tripped himself up’ – Aston Villa boss Smith fumes at Manchester United penalty award



The Villa coach was left puzzled as to why VAR was not consulted in a decisive decision during the loss at Old Trafford

Aston Villa boss Dean Smith has raged at the penalty awarded to Manchester United, which allowed them to claim a 2-1 win when the sides met at Old Trafford in the Premier League on Friday.

United had led the match thanks to an Anthony Martial goal before Bertrand Traore levelled the match just before the hour mark. Three minutes later, though, Paul Pogba went to ground in the box and the hosts were presented with a penalty opportunity.

Bruno Fernandes converted from the spot – his 15th successful attempt from 12 yards since arriving at Old Trafford a year ago – and the hosts went on to win the game.

“I thought it was a penalty at the time, but I looked at it after the game and saw he tripped himself. I don’t see why [referee] Michael Oliver couldn’t have looked at it. That’s what VAR is for isn’t it?” he told Sky Sports.

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“He’s tripped himself up. There are margins in football. I’ve seen it again, and I don’t think it’s a penalty.”

Overall, he was pleased with how his side responded after a disappointing start to the game.

“First half we were miles off it. The first 15 minutes felt like a testimonial,” he said. “Then they injected some pace into it and deservedly went ahead.

“I asked for more at half-time and we deserved to get back in the game. Our goalkeeper has had to make some good saves but they were all outside the box.

“We know we’re on a good journey at the moment. We believe we’ve got five key arrivals to go with the players who are Premier League ready now.

“This is only our second season in the division, but competing here and against Liverpool and Arsenal shows our journey is going well so far.”

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Villa find themselves sixth in the Premier League and in the thick of the race for European spot. They are presently one of six teams in a remarkable logjam on 26 points.

They have a week to regather their strength before an FA Cup clash against Liverpool on January 8.



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