Ole backs Bruno from the penalty spot
Bruno Fernandes has been backed by Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to respond positively after his late penalty miss in the defeat to Aston Villa at Old Trafford.
Our no.18, who later posted the below heartfelt message to fans, made his rare error in front of the Stretford End, in the latter moments of Saturday's loss and just five minutes after Kortney Hause had headed the visitors into the lead.
United of course were condemned to defeat shortly after and despite Fernandes' late misfortune, Ole insists his confidence in the 27-year-old's ability from the spot remains unchanged going forward.
With United looking to get back to winning ways against Villarreal in the Champions League on Wednesday night at Old Trafford, it looks like Fernandes will be still very much in the frame if a penalty is awarded to the Reds.
"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.
“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.
“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.”
Solskjaer is blessed with players willing to take penalties in his squad, including Fernandes' fellow Portugal star Cristiano Ronaldo.
The boss was asked by journalists if there was ever a possibility that our no.7 would have taken the decisive spot-kick against Villa.
“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.”
Fernandes has had a sensational penalty record for the Reds since his move from Sporting in January 2020. Bruno opened his United goal account from the spot when he converted against Watford at Old Trafford in a 3-0 Premier League win and his penalty stats since then have been almost flawless.
Our midfielder has a success rate of 91 per cent for United despite his miss in stoppage time against Villa. He has scored 21 spot-kicks for the Reds and his only previous blemish was last season against Newcastle United at St James’ Park, a year ago next month. He netted from open play in that game, however, as Ole's men won 4-1.
Bruno’s career statistics from the spot at all levels, including internationals for Portugal, is 42 successes with just four missed, and there's no doubt he will be eager to overcome Saturday's miss and add to his vast majority of conversions for the Reds in the weeks ahead.
On Saturday evening, Bruno Fernandes posted a long, heartfelt message to his 5.8million Instagram followers and 2.1million on Twitter, in which he expressed his gratitude to the Old Trafford crowd for trying to lift his spirits at full-time.
"Thank you for all your support after the final whistle! Hearing you chanting my name was very emotional. I will come back stronger for me, because these are the standards I hold myself to, but most of all for my team-mates and our fans who have always supported."
No excuses for my penalty miss today. I’m my biggest critic but as always I’ll use it to drive me forward. More than my disappointment though, the team’s loss today is the most important. I’ll be ready next time. pic.twitter.com/tTBgURne8B— Bruno Fernandes (@B_Fernandes8) September 25, 2021