DAVID MOYES took the fall for the penalty howler which cost West Ham a point – and finally ended David De Gea’s spot-kick hoodoo.
Moyes brought on Mark Noble in stopping time just to convert from 12-years and seal a thrilling draw, only to miss from the spot for the first time in almost five years.
David Moyes sent on Mark Noble for the last-ditch penalty[/caption]
United keeper De Gea’s brilliant save to his left saw him become the hero and end a run of 40 penalties without saving one for club and country, also stretching back to 2016.
Hammers boss Moyes said: “Do I regret it? Not at all because Mark Noble is one of the best penalty kick takers we’ve got.
“We had time to think about it, time to make that choice. My choice, my decision.
“That is what happens in management, you have to make big decisions. Sometimes they go and sometimes they don’t. Maybe the job is for some people and not for others, that is why you have to take the decisions.
“We had a really good penalty kick taker sitting on the bench, I think I would have been more disappointed in myself if I hadn’t made the decision.
“Because of his record I thought he was the one who would be most suited to taking it.”
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Ironically only last month Moyes had spoken of how he would love to be able to use Noble as his specialist penalty taker in the same way special teams are used in NFL.
He said on August 23: “It’s a pity the Premier League isn’t like American Football where we could bring Mark off the bench just to take a penalty as he’s our specialist.
“He’s incredible and he keeps telling me he’s got one of the best records in Europe for conversion rates.”
De Gea admitted he first thought he would be facing Declan Rice after Luke Shaw’s stoppage time handball – only to see the Hammers make the rush sub and Noble stride onto the pitch.
He said: “It was the last minute, I made the save. A massive three points for us.
“Going through my head was ‘save the ball’.”
United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admitted he feared letting two points slip away when the late penalty was given, after Jesse Lingard had returned to East London to hand them the lead just two minutes from time.
Solskjaer said: “I’ve seen Mark Nobles on so many penalties. You did feel down and out and you expected him to come on and you’d only get a point
But I believe in David. He saved one against Crystal Palace last year and it got retaken because he was just off his line.
“He is a different man. He asked to come back early from pre-season and he wanted to show how good he is. He is so focussed and he has saved two points for us today.”
In a thrilling game, United came from a goal down through Said Benrahma to claim the win thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo and then Lingard’s stunning late strike.
The role of ref Martin Atkinson and VAR was under huge scrutiny, with Ronaldo denied two spot-kicks which boss Solskjaer insisted should have been given.
David De Gea was mobbed by his Manchester United team-mates[/caption]
And West Ham also felt hard done by when Atkinson ruled Tomas Soucek had fouled Aaron Wan-Bissaka when the United defender appeared to clean out the Czech midfielder in the area.
Solskjaer said: “The first and the last are stonewall and you cannot even argue against them. The lad puts his foot out and Cristiano runs straight and he is fouled.
“The last one – Paul had a foul against Kurt Zouma. He did not touch him but he went over him so why is Cristano’s third appeal not a penalty?
“Hopefully it will not be ‘Cristiano is never going to be a penalty’.
“I am so happy for Jesse. He had a tough evening on Tuesday but he was knocked down and worked hard again. He has been the same bright positive lad and what a goal. Good turn and great finish.”