Manchester United midfielder Bruno Fernandes may have made a crucial error in the penalty shoot-out defeat to Villarreal in yesterday’s Europa League final.
The Spanish side ended up winning 11-10 in a thrilling shoot-out after the game was level at 1-1 after extra time, but what’s curious is that Fernandes allowed Unai Emery’s men to go first.
According to iNews, there is a decent level of research that shows the side shooting first when it comes to penalties has a 60% advantage, while the psychological edge also seems obvious.
The report suggests Fernandes’ decision inadvertently gave Villarreal a huge advantage, though of course it’s easy to say that with hindsight after what ended up being a very close shoot-out.
The piece from iNews also suggests there may have been some level of complacency from United, with Fernandes’ strange decision perhaps highlighting that mood in the MUFC squad.
They also quote United legend Paul Scholes as being too dismissive of Villarreal during punditry duty, saying: “You’re playing Villarreal here. You’re playing a team that finished 7th in a really poor La Liga.
“Think of Real Madrid and Barcelona, how bad have they been? Manchester United should win this game comfortably.”
It’s fair to say Villarreal were the underdogs in this game, but they were still surely written off too easily by some people in England, particularly given the experience of their manager Unai Emery in this competition.
Emery lifted the trophy for the fourth time in his career, having also previously guided Sevilla to three consecutive final victories, whilst also losing one when he was in charge of Arsenal in 2019.