Tony Mowbray’s penalty shootout message ahead of Luton v Sunderland

The Sunderland side have practiced taking penalties as part of their training schedule this week, aware that tonight’s play-off semi-final second leg in Luton Town will be decided on penalties if the total scores are even at the end of both the regular playing time and overtime.

Mowbray doesn’t have a fixed five-man list of favorite penalty takers in mind, as he concedes it’s difficult to know exactly who will be on the field at the final whistle when the game has already gone 120 minutes.

But after Notts County’s John Bostock almost cost his side a Football League spot with a botched attempt to play a ‘panenka’ at the weekend, the Sunderland manager doesn’t want his players to try anything too unorthodox if that today’s game to the end goes penalties.

“Actually, I just let them practice taking penalties,” Mowbray said when speaking to press at yesterday’s pre-game briefing at the Academy of Light. “I talk to them about how to take a penalty, but I know they all have their own ideas.

“I would just say, if I have seven people taking a penalty at the training ground and when I watch them, one of them is one of these guys who takes two steps, stops, looks at the goalkeeper and then looks to the side .” -Pushes a small, soft ball into the corner, he doesn’t take one when it counts. Otherwise we have to see.


“I didn’t watch the Notts County game but it crept into the game didn’t it? Those penalties where people just stop, take a step, look at the keeper and try to steer him into the corner with the side foot.

“Listen, if you’re someone like Ivan Toney and got a lot of your penalties that way, then that’s great. But looking at Ivan Toney, I would still say that when he actually hits the ball, he still hits it pretty hard with his lateral foot.

“It’s not like, ‘I expect the goalie to go one way, so I let it flow the other way because I think I’m brilliant.'” I’d rather they just do it into the net.”

Should there actually be a penalty shoot-out tonight, the presence of Anthony Patterson in the Sunderland goal should help.

The North-Easterner has saved two penalties already this season, repelling attacks from Cardiff’s Joe Ralls and QPR’s Ilias Chair. He was also in goal when Hull City’s Oscar Estupinan failed to find the net in a penalty kick against the Black Cats.

While Ross Stewart started the season as Sunderland’s favorite penalty taker, Amad Diallo proved a more than capable replacement for the injured Scot, scoring on all three penalties against West Brom, Luton and Hull.

Amad would almost certainly be a penalty taker in the shootout if he were still on the pitch at the end of tonight’s extra time, but Mowbray thinks it’s difficult to give too many guidelines at this point.

“I don’t know how the game is going to end or who’s going to be on the pitch if it comes to that (a shootout),” he said.

“You have to play 120 minutes to go to the penalty shoot-out, then the question is: ‘Who’s on the field?’ Who is confident? Who has a great game? Who has a shocker, and while he’s a penalty taker, he missed a goalscorer and doesn’t want to take one?”

“We will do it in the night, and what will be, will be.” Tony Mowbray’s penalty shootout message ahead of Luton v Sunderland

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