Manchester United midfielder Bruno Fernandes has responded to the ongoing jibes that the team are awarded an unfair amount of penalties by reminding critics that fast players like Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial are more likely to be fouled in tight spaces.
Fernandes, often accused of being overrated by critics because he scores penalties, has also hit back by stating the point of a penalty is to score it and it’s not always easy.
Fernandes has scored 15 penalties for United since arriving at Old Trafford at the end of last January and it is worth pointing out that accounts for fewer than half of his 44 overall goal involvements.
Jurgen Klopp made an issue over United’s penalty tally earlier this month. He said that Liverpool have been awarded fewer penalties in his entire time at the club (since October 2015) than United in just the last two-and-a-half seasons alone.
That observation was correct, but skipped over the fact that United have only been awarded one more than Liverpool this season and they have scored the same number. Leicester are actually the club who have had more penalties than anyone else in 2020/21, while Liverpool’s converted penalties have been directly responsible for slightly more points than United’s have.
United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer accused Klopp of trying to influence referees with his comments.
“You always see what people say, but I really don’t care,” Fernandes has told the Telegraph.
“When you play for Sporting, Benfica and Porto are always talking about that kind of stuff – sometimes to put pressure on the referee, sometimes just to make some noise in the press. But, for me, the main point is when we have a penalty, if I go to take the ball, I just have to do my job.”
Fernandes highlighted that Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling has missed his last three penalties, which goes to show how important it is to convert them when they come.
“As Ole says, we have really quick players up front,” he went on to say. “Anthony is one of the best players one against one in the box. Marcus is another who has quick feet who can take the ball away from the defender in any moment. It’s normal that sometimes because of that [they will be tripped] and will fall and gain penalties. People can talk and say what they want.
“But, for us, it’s about continuing to do the right things and when we get a penalty – just scoring.”