Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has put his weight behind Bruno Fernandes after the Portuguese striker missed the penalty against Aston Villa on Saturday at Old Trafford. Fernandes had a chance to equalize for the Red Devils after the referee gave the penalty in injury time for handball against Kortney Hause.
But Manchester United’s number 18 could not grab the chance as he failed to control the height on the ball and miscued his hit. Fernandes has scored 13 penalties for Manchester United but could not hold his nerves against Aston Villa.
“That’s football. He’ll step forward every day of the week for the club and the team. Sometimes it just doesn’t go your way,” the boss said in his post-match press conference. “That is part and parcel of it. It is such a fine line between heaven and hell and unfortunately today he missed it.
“But you know Bruno has been excellent. He is such a good penalty taker and today you’d back him with your mortgage, I would guess,” Solskjaer added.
Solskjaer was not at all impressed by Aston Villa’s tactics after Hause conceded the penalty. The visitors’ goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez exchanged a few words with Fernandes and even asked Ronaldo to take the penalty. The visitors were successful in their strategy of disturbing Fernandes.
“What I didn’t enjoy and didn’t like was the way they crowded the referee around the penalty spot and tried to affect Bruno. It clearly worked for them but that’s not great to see but they achieved what they needed to.”
“As I said, Bruno has been excellent and Cristiano is probably the one that has scored the most penalties in England before,” Ole explained. “We have got great takers here but it is just a missed opportunity for us to get a point.”
This was Manchester United’s first loss of the ongoing Premier League season. The hosts dominated the possession in the first half but could not trouble Martinez on many occasions. Villa then came out firing in the second half and Kortney Hause scored in the 87th minute through a header to give his team a decisive lead in the match.