Manchester United suffered a shock 1-0 defeat at home to Aston Villa on Saturday and there was plenty of drama over a penalty awarded to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has insisted his decision to choose Bruno Fernandes, and not Cristiano Ronaldo, to take the penalty in the 1-0 defeat against Aston Villa was decided pre-match.
Manchester United suffered their second defeat in just four days after Kourtney Hause’s late winner was enough to ensure Villa left Old Trafford with all three points.
The visitors almost threw it all away when goalscorer Hause gave away a penalty just moments after scoring, but Fernandes blazed his effort well over the crossbar – much to the relief of the Villa defender and his boss, Dean Smith.
Ronaldo had seemed the obvious choice to step up and take the spot kick, but the United boss explained that he decided to opt for Fernandes, rather than the 36-year-old.
Solskjaer also expressed his distaste for the way Villa’s players crowded round the Portuguese midfielder before the penalty was taken.
“First of all the way they get round the penalty spot, get round Bruno and that, that’s not to my liking,” said Solskjaer.
“Bruno is usually very good in those positions and unfortunately he missed this one.
“It doesn’t get in Bruno’s head. He’s strong mentally and he’ll step forward again. The decision (on who takes penalties) is made before the game.”
The United manager was also annoyed that Villa’s goal was even awarded as Ollie Watkins appeared to be standing in an offside position during the build-up.
“Obviously disappointed because the goal is offside. It’s unfortunate to have that decision against you,” he said of the incident.
Solskjaer also admitted that losing games is always a concern – after his side were beaten by West Ham in the EFL Cup in midweek – while he confirmed defensive duo Luke Shaw and Maguire may not be fit in time for the Champions League contest against Villarreal on Wednesday.
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“When you lose games it’s a concern of course it is,” said Solskjaer.
“At the moment they [Shaw and Maguire] don’t look ok for Wednesday but let’s see.”
Meanwhile, former Tottenham boss Tim Sherwood believes there is ‘very little’ chance Fernandes will be given the chance to take the next penalty at United.
“Very little,” he said. “He threw the ball to Ronaldo in an international game and Ronaldo missed one. But he’s done him a favour there.
“Listen. I’ve never ever seen him blast the ball over the crossbar. He always waits for the keeper to go down and rolls it into the other corner.
“It’s the pressure of someone else. The main man is here (Ronaldo). It’s distorted his thinking. He knows he’s got one chance and one chance only. And we’ve just seen it go by.”
Perhaps after all that drama Ronaldo will become United’s penalty taker after all, but whether that is the case or not remains to be seen in the coming weeks.
In the meantime, United will now want to put the defeat behind them as quickly as possible as they turn their attention to Europe once more in midweek.