Paul Pogba accepted responsibility for Manchester United’s 1-0 Premier League defeat to Arsenal on Sunday, recognising he made a “stupid mistake” in conceding the decisive penalty.
While Mikel Arteta’s Gunners only managed to get the one goal at Old Trafford, few would claim they were unworthy of the victory.
Arsenal were particularly impressive in the first half, their high press suffocating United and causing them to struggle when playing out from the back.
The winning goal came in the second half as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang converted a penalty that Pogba conceded when tripping Hector Bellerin, the France international; producing a needless tackle attempt with the Spaniard seemingly moving away from the United net.
The error was not lost on the 27-year-old.
“We know it’s a poor performance. Myself, I cannot give a foul away like this,” he told BBC Sport.
“I thought I would touch the ball, but I didn’t – [I] cost us the goal today with the penalty.
“I felt like I touched him a bit, I knew I was in the box. I shouldn’t have given a penalty away like that.
“Maybe I was a bit out of breath, it made me do this stupid mistake. I will learn from that. I’m not the best defensively in the box, I can work on that.
“We have to do better, the team, myself – it starts with me.”
Nevertheless, Pogba also felt United should have adapted better to Arsenal’s aggressive pressing and done more in attack to put the Gunners’ defence on the back foot.
“We also need to do more with the ball creating chances,” he added.
“We didn’t expect to be man for man, but after this we can adapt. We have to find a solution but we didn’t. That’s why we weren’t dangerous with the ball, but like I say, the team performance needs to be a lot better.”
As a result of the defeat, United have failed to win any of their opening four top-flight games at Old Trafford for the first time since 1972-73, a campaign in which they finished 18th.
Additionally, the Red Devils have taken just seven points from their six Premier League games in 2020-21, their lowest tally at this stage since David Moyes’ short stint at the helm in 2013-14 (seven points).
It was also the first time United have lost at home to Arsenal in the league since September 2006.