For the most part of 2020, the conversation surrounding Manchester United has revolved around the number of penalties the club has been awarded.
Last season, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team earned a total of 14 penalties in the Premier League, scoring 10.
Overall, the Red Devils won a total of 22 penalties across all the competitions in the 2019/20 season.
The trend has continued this season, as United have already earned six penalties in the Premier League, five of which were converted successfully. The club has won 11 this term across all competitions.
While football pundits and critics have been critical about how penalties are becoming a frequent occurrence in modern-day football due to VAR and the tendency of players to fell down inside the box, one cannot argue that it has been one of the biggest reasons for United’s climb to a title-contender this season.
In a recent interaction, striker Marcus Rashford revealed how former manager Jose Mourinho taught the team how to win penalties.
“As a forward line, we want to go and score goals,” Rashford told FWA. “When you are making runs in behind or you are dribbling with the ball and if you see a challenge coming, you don’t want to get tackled because you are looking at an opportunity to score a goal.
“There is no way you are going to let somebody take the ball off you, so for me it is just a case of us wanting to score goals and the teams wanting to defend goals – and you know, penalties can happen.
“But there have been times when we have probably not got penalties. I remember when José was manager, there were five or six times I can remember where I should have had a penalty. José ended up saying to me: ‘If you are not savvy about the way you do it, then you are not going to [get] give[n] it.’
“After that, we started to get a few penalties. It was something that in terms of development you have to learn that and understand it.”
The topic of penalties has certainly been the hot topic going into the thrilling weekend clash against Liverpool, especially with manager Jurgen Klopp’s remarks earlier this month.
Following the defeat to Southampton, Klopp claimed that United have won more penalties in the past 2.5 years than he has won throughout his stay at Liverpool.
Football analysts have refuted these claims citing statistics, but even if it is not true, the Scousers will have to be wary of United’s recent records from the spot-kick or they might just end up giving theit rivals a healthy lead at the top of the Premier League table.