Man Utd urged to keep Fernandes on penalties over Ronaldo despite miss
Bruno Fernandes should remain Manchester United's first-choice penalty taker despite his awful miss at the weekend, says John Barnes.
Fernandes fluffed a glorious chance to salvage a point for United in their 1-0 defeat at home Aston Villa on Saturday, sending a crucial spot-kick flying over the bar in stoppage time.
Many were surprised to see the Portugal midfielder step up instead Cristiano Ronaldo – including Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez, who teased him before the penalty by suggesting his compatriot should have been the one taking it.
It remains to be seen whether Ole Gunnar Solskjaer decides to make Ronaldo his new penalty taker on the back of the costly miss.
However, Barnes has stressed that Fernandes – who still has a 90 per cent success rate from the spot at club level – is not suddenly a bad penalty taker because of the blunder.
"Bruno Fernandes is a penalty taker and he missed one penalty, but he’s still a good penalty taker," the Liverpool and England legend told BonusCodeBets.
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"Just because you miss one penalty, it doesn’t mean you're not going to take penalties anymore.
"Cristiano Ronaldo is also a penalty taker but whether or not he will take over from Fernandes remains to be seen – but I don’t think he should."
After the miss, Fernandes apologised to United fans in a lengthy statement on social media.
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Part of the apology read: "No excuse for my penalty miss today. I'm my biggest critic but as always I'll use it to drive me forward … today I failed … I will come back stronger."
But Red Devils hero Gary Neville was not a fan of the message, insisting players should not feel the need to apologise publicly for such mistakes.
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During a Q&A session on Twitter, Neville said: "The apology culture that's engulfing football would be ok if it came from a genuine place. However more often than not it's a smokescreen and diversion tactic designed to mask a crap performance by experts!! Lose a game = crisis comms meet! How do we spin this one our way?"
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