Bruno Fernandes insists that he will take future penalties “without any fear or dread” despite his missed spot-kick seeing Manchester United lose at home to Aston Villa on Saturday.
The Portugal playmaker was given the chance to level proceedings at Old Trafford just moments after Kortney Hause had put Villa into an 88th-minute lead. But Fernandes, who had scored 21 of his previous 22 penalties for the Red Devils, sent the ball high over the bar and Villa held on for a famous 1-0 victory.
United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer backed Fernandes and declined to say whether Cristiano Ronaldo would take the next spot-kick. However, the mere presence of the 27-year-old’s international team-mate inevitably adds extra significance to each missed set-piece.
Writing on Instagram, Fernandes said: “Nobody is more frustrated and disappointed than me for missing the penalty and the consequent defeat.
“I’ve always assumed my responsibilities and I’ve always embraced them under pressure in moments like this. Today, I failed. But I took a step forward and faced the challenge with the same ambition and responsibility as when, on the many other occasions, the ball ended up in the net.
“Criticism and contrasting opinions are a big part of football. I’ve learned to live with it, even using them to drive me on. I consider it all a very important part of my commitment to never stop trying to improve and to become the best player I can possibly be, for me and the team.
“Today I once again took the responsibility given to me almost since I joined United. I will take it again without any fear or dread whenever called upon.”
Chants of ‘Bruno’ rung out around Old Trafford at the end of the match, and Fernandes added: “Thank you for all your support after the final whistle! Hearing you chanting my name in the stadium 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 us.”
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Glazer gives reasons to be cheerful
Meanwhile, Joel Glazer has given Manchester United fans more optimism regarding transfers after speaking at a fans forum meeting on Friday.
United’s co-owner, speaking via video link in a two-hour call from the United States, admitted the owners were “happy” with the way the summer transfer window went.
United added Jadon Sancho in a £73m deal from Borussia Dortmund. That deal addressed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s need for a right winger. The club then went and got a deal done for centre-back Raphael Varane.
The Real Madrid man cost around £41m, while Tom Heaton was a free-transfer signing. Cristiano Ronaldo then arrived for a modest £13.5m. That took United’s summer spending to around the £127.5m mark.
United’s transfer business was certainly a feather in the cap of recently-appointed director of football John Murtough.
And Glazer gave the deals a glowing reference, before revealing there would be more to come.
Glazer said: “The most important thing is always on-the-pitch success. We’re very happy with the summer. We can always improve. There’s always more work to be done.”
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