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Euro 2020: Mourinho Blames England’s Senior Players For Saka’s Penalty Miss 

Euro 2020: Mourinho Blames England’s Senior Players For Saka’s Penalty Miss 

Jose Mourinho has said Bukayo Saka shouldn’t have taken England’s fifth penalty in the shoot-out defeat to Italy in the Euro 2020 final on Sunday.

Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma saved Jadon Sancho and Saka’s spot kicks after Marcus Rashford hit the post, to secure Italy’s first European title since 1968.

Gareth Southgate has faced criticism for a number of crucial decisions that led to the penalty shoot-out.

The manager decided to take off Kyle Walker and Jordan Henderson and replace them with Rashford and Sancho specifically for the spot kicks, while fans were stunned when 19-year-old Saka stepped up to take the fifth and deciding penalty.

Mourinho, who joined Monday’s talkSPORT Breakfast to discuss the Three Lions’ agonising defeat, said more experienced players should have stepped up to take the penalties, rather than the youthful Rashford, Sancho and Saka.

But it was Saka’s position in the penalty line-up that really bemused him, saying it was ‘too much’ for the teenage to have the ‘destiny of a country on his shoulders’ in that moment.

“On the decisions of the penalty takers, I think it’s hard to leave Saka as the last one,” he said.

Also Read: Euro 2020: Saka, Sancho, Rashford Suffer Racial Abuse After England’s Defeat To Italy 

“I think it’s too much for a kid to have everything on his shoulders in this moment, but I don’t know, I have to ask that question to Gareth because many times what happens is that players who should be there are not there, players who should be there, they run away from the responsibility.

“And because I feel Gareth is such an honest guy and is so protective of his players, I don’t believe Gareth would ever say if ‘Player A’ or ‘Player B’ ran away or hid or said they were not ready to take one.

“Because, don’t ask me who because I will not tell you, but I was told 100 per cent that one player that could be in this team and was not in this team, one of the reasons was in the World Cup semi-final he should have taken a penalty and he refused.

“So sometimes these situations happen and honest people like Gareth don’t expose the player.

“I don’t know in this case, I really don’t know, but I think it doesn’t matter if you’re a great penalty taker or not.”

Mourinho believes the more experienced players should have taken penalties – especially given the fact that Rashford and Sancho had only just come onto the pitch as late substitutes in extra-time.

“In this situation, where was Raheem Sterling?,” he asked.

“Where was  John Stones? Where was Luke Shaw? Why didn’t Jordan Henderson or Kyle Walker stay on the pitch?

“Because in reality it’s very, very hard for Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho to come and take a penalty after one touch on the ball.

“But for Saka to have the destiny of a country on his shoulders… I think it’s too much.

“We can speak about the previous days and how they were amazing at taking penalties, but the problem with penalties is it’s one thing is to take one in training and one thing to take in a match, and for those situations there is no way to train them properly because you can’t train with the real pressure, it’s something you only feel in that moment.

“Poor Saka, I just feel very sorry for him.”

Mourinho had some words of comfort to the England trio after their penalty misses, saying even the very best in the game have fluffed big-game spot kicks.
The Special One looked back on the time he chose three of Real Madrid’s best players to open their shoot-out against Bayern Munich in the Champions League semi-final, and how it didn’t go to plan…

“We speak about the young players, but I just want to remember that I lost the Champions League semi-final in the same way,” he added.

“I decided to go strong in the penalty shoot-out one to three, to try to put pressure on Bayern Munich, and Cristiano Ronaldo missed, Sergio Ramos missed and Kaka missed.

“So penalties are always penalties.”

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  • The players who missed scoring their penalties should not be blamed. Neither should the coach be blamed. I’m very sure he chose the penalty takers based on the output of his players in training.
    Obviously, Rashford and Sancho were brought in at almost the last minute of the match, in view of the impending penalty shootout. So that shows they are top performers in training when it comes to penalties

  • gowetok 3 years ago

    I learnt SAKA has been targeted for blame and racial abuse. Some English fans even say he should go back to Nigeria. Poor SAKA . My fervent and only wish for all these kids with double Nationality is that God bless them with common sense to know that as an alien you need to be at ur best to always be considered to play for ur adopted country. Once u make a mistake or a slight drop in form they forget u.

  • Olusegun.B. 3 years ago

    Penalties are one of the most challenging takes when it comes to the decision of who wins a competition . Saka shouldn’t be blamed for this .

    Even the best penalty takes in the world also loses it . It’s a psychological thing . All I can say to Saka and other players is that they should move on and be better next time

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