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Manchester United and their penalty dilemma

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You must have seen Bruno Fernandes skying a penalty on Saturday afternoon way over the crossbar.

Actually, his focus and concentration must have been affected after Emiliano Martinez tried to rumble on the ears of the Portuguese midfielder.

We are quite familiar with Fernandes' frustration issues as he does not shy away from holding back on his views on certain issues during the game.

Usually, it seems as though Bruno's frustration brings out the better side of him as he delivers more often than not.

However, it does seem that the same frustration that picks him up on most occasions also brings him down and that was the case last weekend on Saturday when Martinez's rants must have frustrated Bruno as he decided to just fire the ball into the back of the net and give it back to the Aston Villa keeper.

But, things have changed and Bruno launched it to….. **___** (whatever planet you want to name.)

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said after the game that the penalty-takers are decided before the game as to who has to take the responsibilities if they do get rewarded for a foul into the opposition's box.

But here's the question we have:

  1. Is it right to choose a player to be on penalty before a game?

Or

  1. Should the coach "set-and-forget" the designated penalty-taker at the start of the season to avoid chaos and confusion?

Well, they both have their own advantages. Let's answer them one at a time.

  1. We, personally, don't think that it is the right tactic/approach/formula to use. It simply confuses the players and places additional burdens and pressure on their shoulders.

Well, you have every right to say that a player at this level has to be built in a way that can take the pressure that is being set on the table.

After all, they are humans, too, and they fail on a regular basis, which is something we must accept, whether we like it or not.

We don't agree with this form of tactic that Ole uses as it will cause confusion and unrest within the players who are set to take the designated penalties.

Just an assumption:

  • Imagine if you're Bruno and you're warming up on game day and your coach comes over and lets you know that he wants you to be on penalty duties.
  • Well, imagine the rushing blood flow all over you as you just felt the added pressure on top of the game day pressure to perform once again at the highest level.
  • At that time, when the moment arrives, you will feel the weight of Old Trafford or the away stadium on your shoulders, which will cause you to lose focus, especially when you have the one and only Cristiano Ronaldo looking over you from behind during the clutch moments of the game before the moment unfolds.
  1. We prefer that Ole could just "set and forget" his penalty taker throughout the season, in case the primary taker has not been clinical and converted his chances, or in case the primary penalty taker is injured.

But when you've got the man, the myth, the legend, Cristiano Ronaldo on the field, you can't afford to pass on the opportunity to pass the ball over to him and give him the responsibility.

Here's the advantage:

When you "set and forget", you bring in peace and calm within the players and everyone involved in the dressing room.

Why?

When a coach "sets and forgets" his penalty taker, the concerned player will be able to do much better in:

  • Training
  • Improve themselves technically
  • Analyse themselves
  • Mental Preparation

It is very crucial for a player to be mentally prepared for such an occasion. It's a moment where you cannot afford to drop your levels of concentration as the stakes are high as it could decide at the end of the season as to who wins the title.

No matter how great, how big and how colossal a player is on your side, they always need that added element of preparing mentally for such situations.

Ole knows that it's not easy to take penalties at any given time of the game, let alone in the clutch moments!

Why do you and I think that Ronaldo has been very successful in the dying stages of games?

Why do you think that he has a lot of goals to his name as he approaches 800 senior career goals?

Or, for that matter,

Why do you and I think that Bruno's conversion rate is much higher than Ronaldo's in recent years?

When Cristiano Ronaldo was at Juventus, he knew he was on penalties and even though he had a lesser conversion rate, he still trained and worked on his penalties.

This brings back the gauging memory of his Champions League Hattrick against Atletico Madrid in Juve colours when he slotted home an 86th minute penalty to secure Juve's progression in the next round of the competition.

It's because these players know their role way ahead of time, which helps them prepare mentally, physically, and technically for the given situation.

The Portuguese icon, Cristiano Ronaldo, has "delivered" time and time again in the clutch and decisive moments of many games in his career.

We strongly believe that Ole has to give the responsibility of penalty duties to Cristiano Ronaldo. Even a penalty goal lifts confidence and boosts the player mentally and physically, and with a player of the calibre and stature of Cristiano Ronaldo, we don't have to describe what a boost and a lift a goal or two can do for a player at Ronaldo's level for the numbers he has achieved in the beautiful game.

Cristiano Ronaldo on penalties Ole! Get CR7 on that wheel.