Fernandes vows to 'come back stronger' after penalty miss in Manchester United defeat

Portuguese midfielder had chance to salvage point in injury time against Aston Villa but blazed his effort over the bar

Bruno Fernandes has vowed to "come back stronger" after his late penalty miss denied Manchester United the chance to salvage a draw against Aston Villa on Saturday.

Trailing 1-0 at Old Trafford after Kortney Hause's 88th-minute header, United were given a penalty when Hause handled the ball inside the area in injury time. Fernandes, who was United's top scorer last season, stepped up to convert the spot kick but blazed his effort well over the bar.

The defeat ended United's unbeaten start to the Premier League season and the Portuguese midfielder has said he will bounce back quickly from the disappointment.

"Nobody is more frustrated and disappointed than me for missing the penalty and the consequent defeat," Fernandes, 27, said on Instagram.

"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.

"I will come back stronger for me, because these are the standards I hold myself to, but most of all for my teammates and our fans who have always supported us."

Fernandes' crucial miss has led to suggestions that Cristiano Ronaldo could take over penalty duties, but United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has offered his support to the midfielder.

"Bruno has been excellent and Cristiano is probably the one who has scored the most penalties in world football," Solskjaer said. "We've got great takers and it's a missed opportunity for us to get a point."

Of greater concern to United and Solskjaer is the team's current form. United have now lost three of their past four matches in all competitions following defeats to Young Boys in the Champions League and West Ham in the Carabao Cup. They also failed to score for a second successive game.

After Saturday's shock defeat, United dropped to fourth in the standings on goal difference, level with Manchester City and Chelsea on 13 points. Liverpool lead the table on 14 points.

United next face Villarreal in Wednesday's Champions League group stage match at Old Trafford and Solskjaer expects his team to respond quickly.

"When you lose games it's a concern," he said. "I know they will fight for each other and fight for the shirt and we will be ready for that one."

Updated: September 26th 2021, 7:09 AM
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