How Bruno Fernandes HANDED Villarreal a 20 per cent advantage

REVEALED: Bruno Fernandes HANDED Villarreal a 20 per cent advantage in the Europa League final shoot-out by deciding to shoot second, according to LSE professor who is an EXPERT on penalty planning 

  • Manchester United lost the Europa League final on penalties to Villarreal
  • Bruno Fernandes took the decision to let the Spanish side take their kicks first 
  • However, an expert in psychological studies insists this was the wrong call
  • According to Ignacio Palacios-Huerta, it gave their opponents a sizeable boost

Bruno Fernandes handed Villarreal an enormous advantage during Manchester United’s Europa League final penalty shoot-out defeat by selecting to go second.

That is the expert opinion of one LSE professor who has studied psychological effects of spot kicks and other high-pressured situations. 

United lost in Gdansk on Wednesday night after David de Gea saw his spot-kick saved Gerinimo Rulli to hand the Spanish side an 11-10 win on penalties after the game finished 1-1 after extra-time. 

Bruno Fernandes handed Villarreal a huge advantage during the Europa League shoot-out

The Portuguese forward decided that Manchester United would take their spot kicks second

Fernandes was clearly left distraught by his side’s failing in Poland, with the Portugal forward seen in tears after the end of the shoot-out. 

However, according to academic statistics, that outcome could have been different had Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side stepped up first.

What was most galling to those who know the field well, is that the Premier League side did have the opportunity to choose their own fate – but their Portuguese captain missed an open goal.

As Ignacio Palacios-Huerta told Sportsmail: ‘I would think that most people in football know about, or at least have the right intuition on this 60-40 advantage.

David de Gea was the unfortunate fall guy for the Premier League side, as he missed kick No 11

‘It was shocking to see that Bruno decided to give that 20 per cent advantage to Villarreal.’

In his paper – Psychological Pressure in Competitive Environments: Evidence from a Randomized Natural Experiment – Palacios-Huerta reveals that in a selection of penalty shoot-outs studied from 1976 to 2003, 60.5 per cent were one by the team taking the first kick. 

In its conclusions, the writers point to the ‘detrimental effect on performance’ that going second in a shoot-out has, as appeared to be proven by De Gea’s weak spot-kick. 

The scenes in Gdansk could have been different had Fernandes taken a different decision 

Indeed, De Gea’s poor penalty record did lead to Solskjaer contemplating subbing the Spaniard ahead of spot kicks.

The Norwegian admitted after the game: ‘You go through every scenario, of course, and it [De Gea’s penalty record] had crossed my mind in the build-up to the game but we were confident in David and prepared.

‘Anything can happen in a penalty shootout. I stuck with the keeper who played all of the game.

‘I’ve got to say the penalty shootout was high quality, but we didn’t do enough in the 120 minutes to score more goals and that’s the disappointing bit.

‘We had pressure, we had moments where we felt if we can just kick on a little bit now we can get a goal. But we just couldn’t.’  




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