De Gea and Mata send supportive messages to Bruno Fernandes

If anybody knows about the agony of missing a crucial penalty, for Manchester United, it is David de Gea.

His spot-kick was saved against Villarreal in last season’s Europa League final, as United lost out.

Bruno Fernandes also missed a vital penalty under pressure today, in stoppage time against Aston Villa.

After the game, de Gea sent a supportive message to his teammate on Instagram.


And the goalkeeper told MUTV post-match: “He’s very confident, he took the ball. We believe a lot in him. It’s a bad kick, it happens and this is football. He’s a top player.”

Fellow United teammate Juan Mata also showed his support for Bruno after he missed a glorious late chance to grab a 1-1 draw at home to Villa.

There was some debate over whether Fernandes or Cristiano Ronaldo would be on penalty duty.

Bruno got the nod with the pressure on here but after missing, perhaps Ronaldo will get the next one.

Bruno is strong mentally but he will still need the support of his teammates after a disappointing afternoon.

United are going through a slump and Wednesday’s meeting with Villarreal – this time in the Champions League – looks huge now.

Bruno was wearing the captain’s armband when he missed after Harry Maguire’s substitution, and those leadership skills will help him through this tricky period.

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Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.