Manchester United fans have no dilemma after the end of the Europa League final - Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was supposed to send Dean Henderson on the goal before the penalty lottery. His colleague David De Gea did not become famous - he did not defend any of Villarreal's 11 penalties and missed the decisive shot, thus solving the final in favor of the Spanish club.
The supporters of the Red Devils are right, it could hardly have been worse than that, right? True, it's easy to be a general after a battle, but if he'd just looked at De Gea's performance from the white spot, Solskjaer would have realized that for his first net keeper, the white spot was actually black and that it's no wonder he failed to read any penalty tonight.
Namely, De Gea saved the last penalty five seasons ago, in 2016 against Everton in the semifinals of the FA Cup, when he saved a penalty after Romelu Lukaku shot. From then, until tonight's penalty series in all competitions, he faced another 25 shots from the penalty spot and did not save- any.
If we add to that four penalties from the World Cup in Russia against the hosts, and tonight's 11 in Gdansk, we come to the number of 40 unsaved penalties.
In the same period, Dean Henderson faced 17 penalties and saved eight!
"It didn't even seem like he could save any of them. With all the information that goalkeepers have about penalties today, this just isn't good enough for a goalkeeper at his level," writes ESPN journalist Mark Odden, who follows the events in Manchester club.
Manchester Evening journalist Samuel Luckhurst criticized Solskjaer for his lack of courage, recalling, for example, former Dutch coach Louis van Gaal, who replaced Jasper Cillessen at the 2014 World Cup with Tim Krul before the penalty shootout and made a good decision.
"United had Solskjaer, but they needed Louis van Gaal to encourage him before the penalty. Penalties have always been De Gea's kryptonite." "Solskjaer's poor management of the goalkeeping situation means that the debate will continue in the summer, and Henderson will now have an opportunity to prove himself.
" Still, we don’t know if Henderson would have been a bit better on the goal either, given that most of Villareal's players reacted perfectly from the penalty spot. Sure, Henderson could get a better chance next season, but it looks like Manchester needs a change in other positions as well.