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André Onana reveals secret referee conversation before Man United penalty heroics



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Credit: ITV

André Onana has revealed the little conversation he had with the referee before his penalty heroics as Manchester United defeated Coventry City on penalties in the FA Cup.

Manchester United‘s last two fixtures in the FA Cup have been brilliant entertainment for watching fans, with the 4-3 win over Liverpool being followed by a 3-3 draw and penalties victory against Coventry City for Erik ten Hag‘s men.

Despite holding a 3-0 lead with just 20 minutes to play, Coventry capitalised on poor United defending to draw the game 3-3 deep into added time, sending the game to an extra 3-0 minutes.

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Coventry then scored a winning goal in the 120+1st minute. It was ruled out for a fractional offside in the build-up, but United were able to clinch victory in the penalty shootout in dramatic style.

During the shootout, André Onana received a yellow card for his gamesmanship but was not sent off due to a minor rule: the card he was handed did not combine with the other to turn into a red card.

Read More: Can André Onana play in the FA Cup final following his yellow cards vs Coventry?

Secret conversation

Speaking to ITV after the game, he revealed that he had a conversation with the referee to make sure that the correct rules were in place before he started his mind games.

“I know the rules,” he said. “When the game was over, the referee told me the first yellow card was cancelled. It was a new start. I knew I wouldn’t be suspended, I spoke with the referee just before the penalties, so I knew the rules.”

Onana turned hero during the shootout, saving one penalty and engaging in enough mind games to make Ben Sheaf hit his effort well over the bar, which allowed Rasmus Højlund to net the winning penalty.

“I’m here for those types of moments,” he explained. “We have experienced players who are used to playing under pressure. Especially this year, it has been very difficult, so we are used to difficulties at the moment.”

Not good enough

Speaking after the tie, Onana also admitted that he thinks winning the FA Cup, should United do so, is not enough to class this season as successful. United have been knocked out of the Carabao Cup and Champions League while they sit seventh in the league table.

“I don’t think being a Manchester United player winning the FA Cup is a successful season. We are big players and always want to win everything, whether it is the Premier League, Champions League, or FA Cup. At the moment, it is what we have, so we will go for it.

“You will see much more, trust me. Hopefully, in the coming years, we’ll fight for big things. That means trying to finish in the top four this season, which is very important for us to be in the Champions League. We’ll fight for everything.”

United will face Manchester City in the FA Cup final at the end of May. It will be the final game of the domestic season.