Jose Mourinho has cleared the Red Devils’ spot-kick confusion, which took place in their Champions League clash against Benfica.
United registered a comfortable 2-0 victory over the Portuguese Champions, and have now won four games out of four in their group. Mile Svilar’s own goal gave the Red Devils a one-goal lead late in the first half, after Nemanja Matic’s thumping strike hit the post, only to crawl into the back of the net after hitting the Benfica goalkeeper on his back.
United could have ended the half with a two goal advantage had Anthony Martial converted from the spot with just 14 minutes into the game, but it wasn’t to be. The Old Trafford outfit was awarded another spot-kick late in the second half though, which was eventually netted by Daley Blind to seal all three points for his side.
However, it was much more than just a regular penalty incident. Blind stormed to take the ball from Ander Herrera, who had already taken it from Romelu Lukaku, in order to take the set-piece himself, after Mourinho had assigned the responsibility to the Dutchman following the foul in the 78th minute.
The Special One explained the complete scenario later, as he cleared that Martial was initially given the penalty duty, but after the 21-year-old had failed to score from the first penalty, and was also subbed off before the second incident, the responsibility was immediately shifted to Blind.
As per United’s official website, Mourinho revealed: “I’m paid to make decisions – good or bad – and in the first half it was a bad decision because the player that I chose to take the penalty missed.
“In the second half I made another decision and I don’t see the drama because there is no drama. The penalty taker for this match was Martial, he took one in the first half and missed. And he was not on the pitch when the second one happened, so then, I had a decision to make.”
Many club supporters were shocked to see Blind take the spot-kick, as they, along with a few football pundits, had anticipated that Lukaku would take the penalty and end his goal drought.
“Romelu wants to take it because he has that personality to want to take the responsibility – so does Herrera,” Mourinho added. “But my decision based on what we did on training in the past couple of days was Blind. The players respect my decision and that’s it – end of story.”
Written by Sidharth Jindal
Sports fanatic with a passion for writing (predominantly football) and “Wants to live life to its fullest.” Writes about the Premier League on his personal blog.