Bruno Fernandes says he turned down the chance to score his first Manchester United hat-trick in their Champions League win over Istanbul Basaksehir to keep his word to team-mate Marcus Rashford.
After driving a half-volley into the net from the edge of the area, Fernandes put United two ahead inside 20 minutes when keeper Mert Gunok dropped a routine cross at the midfielder’s feet.
Despite scoring from the spot against West Brom three days earlier, Fernandes let Rashford take the penalty that made it 3-0 after the England forward had been sent flying by Boli Bolingoli.
“Of course every player wants a hat-trick, but after the game in the Premier League I told Rashford that he could take the next one,” Fernandes said.
“Also, he’s one of the top scorers in the Champions League so it’s important for him to get the confidence.
“It doesn’t matter who takes the penalty as long as the team scores.”
United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had no problems with Fernandes handing over the penalty to Rashford.
The Norwegian told BT Sport: “Marcus is a very good penalty taker and Bruno is very confident, if Bruno wants to give it to Marcus then why not? Anthony Martial took one against Leipzig too – why not share it around?”
Tuesday’s game marked the first time United had led by three goals at half-time in a Champions League game at Old Trafford since Roma were routed 7-1 in April 2007.
The visitors pulled one back through Deniz Turuc’s curling free-kick and an Edin Visca shot that cannoned off the bar 10 minutes from time brought cries of “wake up” from United keeper David de Gea.
But there was no repeat of their shambolic defending in defeat in Turkey three weeks ago and Daniel James completed the scoring in stoppage time when he tapped home Mason Greenwood’s cross for his first goal since March – and his first on home soil in 15 months.
The win means United are top of Group H and need just a point from their remaining two group games to qualify for the knockout stage.