Rule one of successful management; back your team to the
hilt when they do badly and slag them off when they win.
Steve Bruce watched his Sunderland
team marmalise Wolves 5-2 yesterday but spent his post-match interview
whingeing about his team's
Darren Bent slotted a first-half penalty before letting his
strike partner Kenwyne Jones take a second spot-kick just after the break.
Jones scored, but Bruce was not happy.
"Giving a penalty to someone else because you feel
sorry for him because he has not scored is the sort of thing you do in a school
playground, not the Premier League," Bruce blasted.
Although the Sunderland boss somewhat undermined his
position of moral authority by admitting he has a superstition whereby he
refuses to watch his team take a penalty - he thought Bent had scored a
- - -
Diego Forlan had failed to score in his first 26 appearances
for Manchester United, and was allowed to take a penalty in the dying minutes
of a Champions League group game against Maccabi Haifa in 2002 with United
already 4-2 up. He converted, although it didn't
stop him doing things like this
before selling his soul to Gerd Muller at the crossroads on his way to
Another 'pity' penalty went the way of Claude Makelele at the end
of the 2004/05 season. Chelsea had already clinched the title and were goalless against
Charlton when Frank Lampard won a late penalty with a swan dive that, were it
executed in these sensitive times, might have earned him a two-match ban. Lampard
handed the ball to Makelele, who had never scored for Chelsea.
Unsurprisingly, the Frenchman's
dismal effort was saved (although no thanks to Charlton defender Talal El
Karkouri, who pointed vigorously for keeper Stephan Andersen to dive the other
way), but Makelele spared his blushes, and Lampard's,
by scuffing in the rebound.
Robert Pires and Thierry Henry would have driven Brucie mad.
Out of respect for some bizarre French tradition, Henry was Arsenal's penalty taker unless he won the spot-kick - then
Pires would do the honours. This is precisely what happened against Manchester City in 2005; David James brought Henry
down and Pires whacked in the penalty.
Twelve minutes later a second penalty went Arsenal's way, and again Pires stepped up. But instead of
shooting, Pires tried to lay the ball off to Henry in an attempt to recreate
Johan Cruyff's classic 'passed penalty'
for Ajax in
But, perhaps struck by the stupidity of trying something
like this while only 1-0 up (Ajax were several goals to the good against
Helmond, now most famous for being a particularly dangerous province of
Afghanistan), Pires barely made contact with the ball and City scrambled it
away amid much effing and blinding from Danny Mills.
This tradition of questionable logic at Arsenal continued
last season when Robin van Persie and Emmanuel Adebayor alternated. Although
recent events suggest that was a rather less friendly arrangement than Henry
Earlier this season, Aston Villa switched penalty takers in
their Europa League tie against Rapid Vienna. James Milner took, and scored,
Villa's second penalty of the game after
Ashley Young missed the first.
As ever, South America
provides the best examples. In 2007, relegation-threatened Goias played
Internacional on the last day of the Brazilian season and won a second-half
attempt was saved by Clemer, but the kick was ordered to be retaken because the
goalkeeper moved early. Baier stepped up a second time and Clemer saved again -
but again the referee said he moved early. A rattled Baier handed the ball to
team-mate Elson, who rifled the ball in at the third time of asking. Goias
stayed up. Hurrah.
The potential pitfalls of sticking with your first-choice
taker are best illustrated by Martin Palermo. Despite being one of the most
prolific and exciting strikers of the last 15 years, the Argentinian will
forever be known as the bloke who missed three penalties in a game.
Palermo achieved this 'feat' in
a Copa America game against Colombia
in 1999. His first effort pinged over off the top of the bar, while the second
did not even trouble the woodwork on its way into the crowd. Palermo's
final attempt was at least on target, but he smashed it straight down the middle
with such force the goalkeeper could hardly have got out of the way even if he
had wanted to.
- - -
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND: Phil Brown on Hull's 6-1 defeat at Liverpool:
"I was disgusted with some of the defending, individually and
collectively. For me it was demoralising and I hope it was for the players as
well. People will say Torres was the difference between the two sides but I
thought we gifted them the goals. To come out in the second half and throw away
a third goal and give up our position was disgusting. That killed us off and
one or two towels went in after that, which is bitterly disappointing from my
point of view." See rule one of successful management above. ED is
starting to regret voicing its support for the tango-faced tactician.
FOREIGN VIEW: Trouble in paradise? The Spanish papers
reflect on Cristiano Ronaldo's
petulant reaction to being substituted against Tenerife,
ending his run of scoring in every game for Real Madrid. And Raul is apparently
peeved that he will be on the bench against Marseille in the Champions League.
COMING UP: Manchester
City v West Ham at 20:05 UK time. City
can go third, although they'll have
to win by eight goals.