The fallout of Manchester United’s 1-0 defeat by Aston Villa is still unfolding, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the spotlight for his decision involving Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes
Jamie Carragher and Thierry Henry insist Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was right to snub Cristiano Ronaldo and hand penalty duties to Bruno Fernandes.
He made the decision despite Ronaldo converting the Red Devils’ previous penalty, against Newcastle United two weeks earlier.
To the dismay of the Old Trafford crowd, Fernandes blazed his spot kick over the bar and United fell to a 1-0 defeat by Villa.
This placed Solskjaer and Fernandes firmly in the spotlight, but Carragher and Henry maintain the Portuguese should have taken the penalty over compatriot Ronaldo.
“I do personally,” Carragher told Sky Sports regarding whether Fernandes should have stepped up from 12 yards.
“[Now] Because Ronaldo’s such a big name there’s talk of him taking the next one. Do you think that should happen or do you think that’s fair considering Bruno’s record?”
Arsenal legend Henry responded: “I cross that line being a manager. Whatever Solskjaer said is right. We’ll debate it, whatever it is, but whatever the manager says, goes. Ronaldo or not.”
Fernandes’ miss marked the second time he has failed to convert a Premier League penalty in 15 attempts, but Henry suspects he may lose first-choice status from the spot to Ronaldo.
He added: “Now, I don’t know if he’s going to be on the next one, though! But whatever the manager says, goes.
“How many times have you seen Bruno Fernandes keep his calm and putting the ball in the back of the net? He missed it, so now it might be a debate amongst them to see who’s going to take the next one.
Was Ole Gunnar Solskjaer right to name Bruno Fernandes as penalty taker ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo? Have your say in the comments.
“But for me it was just normal that Bruno Fernandes takes it.”
Henry then harked back to his own experiences with Arsenal, Barcelona and the French national team to recall conversations over who should take penalties.
He said: “For sure, but then the manager was always the guy saying at one point, ‘He takes it’, and then he will decide if you take it if you’re second or not – that’s on the first guy.
“So, obviously if Fernandes took it, then Fernandes took it because he was the guy to take it. He missed it and obviously there’s going to be a debate about it – and we are debating about it – but for me, whatever the manager says, goes.”
Fernandes’ career record from the penalty spot is an impressive 42 scored and four missed, giving him a conversion rate of 91.3 per cent.
Ronaldo, meanwhile, has scored 139 penalties and missed 28 for club and country, meaning his conversion rate is 83.2 per cent.