Flawless Fernandes reveals penalty technique
Bruno Fernandes's goal in our final game of the 2019/20 season, against Sevilla, was remarkably his 19th successful penalty in a row for both Sporting Lisbon and Manchester United.
Our Player of the Month winner for August has found the back of the net with all of his eight spot-kicks for the Reds so far, including four in his last five outings. Half of them have been scored in the league, with the other four coming in the cup competitions.
Arguably, it has been a case of the bigger the pressure, the better the penalty as the Portugal international calmly beat Leicester City's Kasper Schmeichel on the final day to help clinch a place in the Premier League's top four and followed it up with nerveless finishes in the Europa League quarter-final win over FC Copenhagen and semi-final against Sevilla. The strike from 12 yards against the Spanish side was beautifully despatched, high into the net.
Such consistency has brought comparisons between Bruno and some of United's most reliable penalty-takers over the years, including Eric Cantona, Denis Irwin and Steve Bruce.
However, the 25-year-old insists there is no secret formula but rather an ability to think on the spot - literally - and adjust his approach according to the situation.
"I don’t have a secret," he told UEFA.com. "I think that I train a lot, I like to train a lot. I always pay attention to what the goalkeepers are doing – how they position themselves, how they best prevent shots on goal. Based on that, based on the match, and based on how I’m feeling on the pitch, I decide how to take a penalty.
“I don’t have a specific technique in taking penalties. There’s no certain run-up I take, I just stick to what I feel is most comfortable.
“If I change it every so often, it might make the goalkeeper uncertain. I change my run-up for how I’m feeling during the match, or how I feel the goalkeeper [will move]."
Bruno's two most important penalties were arguably the ones that broke the deadlock against Leicester and defeated FC Copenhagen.
"You could say that this [FC Copenhagen] penalty was decisive, as was the last one in the league [at Leicester], and I scored it in a different way. I mean, in this match, I did a little skip before striking the ball and, in the other, I didn’t. Let’s put it this way.
“It’s not a matter of fear or mistrust, it’s more about trying to change the game a bit, or even trying to trick the goalkeeper.”
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