Paul Pogba said players can find another way to be “happy” amid new Premier League protocols on goal celebrations.
The referees were told to remind players to keep social distance as much as possible during games and when celebrating goals.
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola admitted that it will be “difficult” for players to follow instructions and Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta also voiced his concerns.
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Pogba, who signed Covid-19 last year, said live on Sky Sports ahead of Manchester United’s clash in Liverpool on Sunday that security was paramount.
“You find another way, you find another way to celebrate, to be happy,” the French midfielder told Sky Sports. “But the most important thing is the result. Of course there are rules and we have to respect them for the safety of everyone.”
He added, “I had it, but I was home then. That’s not the problem, as long as everyone is safe, that’s the most important thing.”
Earlier this week, Sky Sports News in The Times confirmed reports the Premier League and PGMOL had written to the umpires, urging them to specifically discuss with the captains and coaches what is expected of them in the game.
It is because league officials are increasingly concerned that coronavirus protocol violations and lack of social distancing – especially when celebrating goals – are criticizing football and are vulnerable to a possible change in government policy that could halt the game.
After City’s win over Brighton on Wednesday, in which Phil Foden scored the winner and celebrated with the majority of his teammates, Guardiola admitted that following protocols is “difficult” because partying is an “instinct”.
“We will follow what the Premier League says, but I don’t know if we can,” said Guardiola.
“I respect the Premier League protocols. I completely understand what they are trying to do. When we are inside, everyone respects social distancing. We have to do it. But outside, on the training ground after being tested many times, in reality Moment of joy [hugging] is instinct and reaction. It’s tough. I don’t know if we can do it. “
Parker: I’ll remind Fulham players about that
Meanwhile, Fulham head coach Scott Parker has announced that he will be reminding his squad of the minutes after several players celebrated the equalizer in the 1-1 draw with Tottenham.
“I have a feeling I probably will,” Parker said when asked if he would speak to his players about celebrations.
“I didn’t notice and I didn’t look back. At the same time, I have sympathy for the players. We still play football, these players are still being judged, I will be judged, football clubs will be judged.” judged.
“At the same time, of course, I understand the situation and the minutes in the game. Of course, it’s a conversation I’ll have with the players.”
Arteta reflects the concerns of the celebration
Arteta, who spoke live on Sky Sports ahead of Arsenal’s clash with Crystal Palace on Thursday, also said players won’t focus on distancing rules in the intensity of the games.
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“It’s very difficult to control the emotions when you’re going around 200 mph in a game full of things around you,” said Arteta.
“We ask our players, for example in corners, to mark people and push them around, and then we cannot poke someone with our fist or greet someone.
“It gets a little controversial and difficult to understand.”