Bruno Fernandes skied his penalty in injury time as Manchester United lost 1-0 to Aston Villa in the Premier League on Saturday to surrender their unbeaten league record
United were beaten 1-0 at Old Trafford as Kourtney Hause’s late header inflicted a third defeat in the last three games for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.
Matt Targett and Ollie Watkins both spurned great chances for the visitors, while Harry Maguire and Paul Pogba went close with first-half headers for United.
Hause appeared to have won the game when he got away from Edinson Cavani to head home an 88th-minute corner.
But United were given a lifeline when Hause handballed from Fernandes’ cross in injury-time and referee Mike Dean pointed to the penalty spot.
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Fernandes took responsibility ahead of his Portuguese compatriot Cristiano Ronaldo, but buckled under the pressure, smashing his effort way over the crossbar.
Fernandes has an outstanding penalty record, having scored 21 of his previous 22 penalties for United in all competitions before the miss, but he still felt the need to apologise to fans on social media.
“Nobody is more frustrated and disappointed than me for missing the penalty and the consequent defeat,” he wrote.
“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.
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“Criticism and contrasting opinions are a big part of football. I’ve learned to live with it, even using them to drive me on, and 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 and I will take it again without any fear or dread whenever called upon.
“The most important thing for me is to win together and I’ll always do everything I can to help my teammates and the club to be the best we can be.
“I’m a player who leaves everything on the pitch, with great desire and commitment. And that’s what I’ll continue to do.
“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 teammates and our fans who have always supported us.”
Solskjaer did not blame Fernandes for the miss, instead pointing the finger at Aston Villa’s players for their behaviour before the spot-kick was taken.
“Sometimes it just doesn’t go your way,” he said. “Bruno is such a good penalty taker and today you would have backed him with your mortgage I would guess.
“What I didn’t like was the way they crowded the referee and the penalty spot and Bruno and tried to affect him. It clearly worked but that’s not great to see.
“Bruno has been excellent and Cristiano is probably the one who has scored the most penalties in world football. We’ve got great takers and it’s a missed opportunity for us to get a point.”