London (AFP) – 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 against Aston Villa.
Fernandes was given the chance to snatch a dramatic equaliser in the final seconds at Old Trafford on Saturday 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 the presence of Cristiano Ronaldo in the team could mean the 27-year-old has to stand down from the role soon.
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, 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.”
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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