Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has provided insight into Manchester United’s penalty situation ahead of their clash with Newcastle United on Saturday afternoon.
Man United have one of the best penalty takers on the planet in Bruno Fernandes. The Portuguese midfielder has been extremely reliable from 12-yards since arriving at Old Trafford.
Ordinarily you’d see no reason to change, but these are no ordinary circumstances, with Cristiano Ronaldo, who is also world-class from the spot, having returned to Man United.
Ronaldo would likely be keen to pad out his goal-scoring stats by being on Man United penalty duty, but would it be fair to take it away from Fernandes after how reliable he’s been?
It’s a tricky situation, but a good problem to have from Solskjaer’s perspective. Here’s what he’s had to say on the matter, as quoted by the Mirror:
“I knew that question was going to come. And, of course, I’ve had a chat with the two of them.”
“We’ve got two players there that I’d trust with my life to put a penalty away and that’s a great position to be in.”
“They’ll know via the conversations we’ve had and the conversations we’ll have before the games how we’re going to solve this. It’s going to be my decision what’ll happen. The two of them will keep on doing what they do when they’re asked to take the penalties.”
“I’ve got Cristiano, Bruno, Marcus [Rashford], I’ve got players I trust to score every time they step up to take a penalty. I’ve had this conversation and they know my position on it. They know that I decide who is going to shoot the penalty if we get one.
“That’s not going to cause an issue. We’re here to win together. It’s not about my numbers or your numbers. It’s about us as a team and the decision is going to be mine.”
Solskjaer, being a former striker, may well lean towards allowing Ronaldo to get his name on the scoresheet on a more frequent basis via the penalty spot.
Fernandes has served Man United well, but it’s difficult to imagine how you could deny Ronaldo the opportunity to find the back of the net from 12-yards.
This is a hot topic of debate at the moment, with Man United fans themselves split on who should have the responsibility, but they can rest assured that whether it’s Ronaldo or Fernandes, it’s probably ending up in the back of the net…