Football

Bruno Fernandes vows to keep taking penalties

Solskjaer criticises Villa's antics leading to United's missed spot-kick in 1-0 defeat

Bruno Fernandes says he will keep taking penalties "without any fear" despite the spot-kick miss that condemned Manchester United to a 1-0 defeat by Aston Villa on Saturday.

Fernandes was given the chance to snatch a dramatic equaliser in the final seconds at Old Trafford, after Kortney Hause put Villa ahead in the 88th minute.

But the Portugal midfielder, who had scored 21 of his previous 22 United penalties, blasted the spot-kick high over the bar and Villa held on to win.

United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer backed Fernandes after the match, but with Cristiano Ronaldo in the team, the 27-year-old might have to hand over penalty-taking duties soon.

Writing on Instagram, Fernandes said: "Nobody is more frustrated and disappointed than me for missing the penalty and the consequent defeat."

Adding that he has learnt to live with criticism, Fernandes said: "I will take (penalties) again without any fear or dread whenever called upon."

After the shock defeat, United dropped to fourth in the standings on goal difference, as one of four sides on 13 points, one behind leaders Liverpool.

United had 28 shots in the match against Villa but just four were on target as they slipped to their first defeat by the Midlands club since 2009, piling the pressure on manager Solskjaer .

The Norwegian blamed Villa's players for putting Fernandes off just before the penalty was taken.

"Bruno has been such a good penalty taker," Solskjaer said.

"You would back him with your mortgage. What I did not like to see was the way they crowded the penalty spot and the referee to try to affect Bruno.

"It clearly worked for them but that is not great to see."

Solskjaer would not be drawn on whether there was any dispute between Ronaldo and Fernandes over who would take the 92nd-minute spot-kick.

"Cristiano has probably scored more penalties than anyone else in world football," he added.

"We have two great takers there, it is just a missed opportunity today."

United have now lost three out of four games in the last two weeks and must stop the rot on Thursday morning (Singapore time) when they host Villarreal in the Champions League .

"It's a Champions League night and we know we've started that group badly," said Solskjaer, referring to their 2-1 defeat by Young Boys. "We'll be ready." - AFP, REUTERS

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