Jose Mourinho made a surprising confession after his side played out a frustrating 1-1 stalemate with Eddie Howe's 10-man Bournemouth, stating that primary set-piece takers Zlatan Ibrahimović and Paul Pogba along with the rest of the squad haven't practised taking penalties in training for months.
The reason he gave was because of the lack of decisions that have gone Manchester United's way inside the box so far this season, with the Reds only being awarded two Premier League spot-kicks this season.
First penalty miss since April 2016 for Ibrahimovic
The statement was made after Ibrahimovic missed a glorious opportunity to score the potential winner from the penalty spot on 70 minutes at Old Trafford as Man of the Match Artur Boruc guessed the right way and saved brilliantly. It was his first miss from 12 yards since April 2016 against Manchester City in the Champions League when playing for Paris-Saint Germain and led to United dropping more points against lesser opposition at home.
The penalty was just United's second in the league this season
"We stopped practising penalties because we were four or five months without one", the Portuguese boss revealed after full-time and therefore humorously added that the veteran striker "was not ready" to take responsibility at the time. You can't exactly blame Mourinho for stopping penalty practice, as the Reds' only league penalty this campaign came in the second fixture and home opener against Southampton midway through August.
The costly miss left the score at 1-1 and resulted in Manchester United missing out on the chance to move out of 6th place for the first time in 17 weeks and leapfrog Liverpool and Arsenal to sit in 4th, however now stay three points outside of the top four with 12 games left to play.