Tag Archives: Bruno Fernandes

Manchester United Derby Win A Bolt From The Blue

Manchester United have stunned neighbours Manchester City, winning 2-0 at the Etihad and reducing the gap to 11 points, keeping their faint title hopes alive.

United have been horrible of late, failing to score in their three previous matches, yet they extended their imperious away record, while snapping City’s 21 game winning streak in all competitions.

Throwing recent form out the window, United flew out the blocks, with striker Anthony Martial brought down in the City box by Gabriel Jesus after just 39 seconds, with Bruno Fernandes converting the resultant penalty.

It could have been two just minutes later, as Luke Shaw had a rasping strike well saved by Ederson.

The England left-back would get his goal in the second half. After goal keeper Dean Henderson released him on a counter attack, a lung-busting run from Shaw and a link-up with Marcus Rashford culminated in a well-placed finish from Shaw on 50 minutes that put United two goals to the good.

It could have been more, but for a wonderful save from Ederson to deny Martial and keep City in the game.

United defended well though, and recorded another memorable win against Manchester City, 12 months to the day that they recorded a 2-0 win over their noisy neighbours at Old Trafford.

Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had refuted claims that United were in crisis earlier in the week, and he was delighted with both the performance and the result.

“It is fantastic. The start of course sets the tone for the game and after one minute we have a penalty and a goal. After being positive! Anthony gets the ball and looks forward, he drives inside the box. Be positive, that’s what we want from our players. I am delighted for everyone and especially Anthony, who has had a hard time. I thought he was Man of the Match.”

“Martial was superb today. He was a doubt before the game and Luke was a doubt before the game, the two of them – what a performance by the whole team, but especially the two of them when you think they had to do the warm-up before they could say to me they were alright to go. I am very happy with them and it just shows that we are getting more and more robust, more resilient to little things that maybe before that been ‘oh no I can’t’. We needed them, the team needed them and they knew. I am delighted with the attitude because in games like this you don’t belong to yourself anymore, you belong to Man United. You go out there and do your best for Man United.”

After several slow starts throughout the season, Solskjaer was delighted with how his charges flew out of the blocks, winning an early penalty.

“It sets the tone for the game a little bit and I thought the first 10 to 15 minutes were excellent. We were on the front foot, pressing, making them make mistakes and I thought the tempo was really high. They settled into the possession and pushed us back too much for my liking, and we gave the ball away too much, but still we got to half-time and we could adjust that a little bit, be more positive, don’t think about the result, just have a good performance and win the second half as well.”

With de Gea still on personal leave, Dean Henderson deputised in goal once again, and was singled out for praise from his manager after both keeping a clean sheet and setting up the second goal.

“He’s just growing, maturing, getting more and more mature, so very, very happy with him and just his presence out there you know there’s a future top, top keeper there.”

“You have to defend for so long and they have got players who are incredible. The tactics are brave and they play in such a way where there are threats everywhere – right, left, centre. There is penetration so you have to focus for 90 odd minutes so the boys deserve all of the praise that they will get tonight, but then forget about it because it is AC Milan on Thursday,” concluded Solskjaer.

United have re-found their scoring touch as they approach a crucial part of the campaign, and will hope for more goals when they entertain AC Milan in the Europa League on Thursday.

Four-midable Manchester United Batter Real Sociedad In First Leg

Bruno Fernandes | Real Sociedad v Manchester United 2021 Europa League

Thanks to goals from Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford and Daniel James, Manchester United have beaten Real Sociedad 4-0 away from home in their Europa League Round of 32 clash, and have all but punched their ticket to the next round.

After stuttering results in the Premier League of late, the Red Devils produced one of their best team performances of the season as they look to get their trophy chase back on track.

There was also a first-team debut for teenage sensation Amad Diallo, the new signing coming off the bench in the 83rd minute for a cameo appearance.

On a bright night for Manchester United there was one sour note, an injury to Scott McTominay that may see the Scotland international miss the upcoming fixture against Newcastle United.

Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer felt like his team were back to their best after recent disappointments.

“We spoke about it before the game that we need to be back to ourselves. Not more direct but attack quicker, see where there is a chance and we knew it was an away game, even if it was at a neutral venue, we knew the goals were going to count more for us. So why not take a risk, go forward, risk some balls in behind? We knew they would have a high line and not have the same pace as Marcus and Dan so we targeted those spaces. We just wanted to be back to ourselves again. The last few weeks, I don’t know how you say it in English but it’s been staccato, stop start and we’ve not really performed. It was about finding ourselves, being positive, having courage and running until you have to come off.”

“Every team attacks you, they do have attacks, so it’s about finding the moments when you have space in behind, or if you have space in between, or if you have space around them. We feel that we are a work in progress, we are learning. The season has been a little bit inconsistent. We’ve not been able to win lately, but the little X-Factor, I feel we got back today. We played well, we were more clinical in front of goal, of course even though we had a few chances before we got the first one. Definitely, when we got the second one, the game opened up and we found ourselves in loads of space,” said Solskjaer.

Bruno Fernandes has made a massive impact since joining from Sporting Lisbon just over 12 months ago, and one wonders where United’s season would be without their talisman.

The Portuguese midfielder scored another two goals in his stellar season, earning further praise from his manager.

“We do create chances and he [Bruno] gets them. He’s good at finding spaces and his technical ability when it comes to chances is top class. Two very good goals. Bruno always wants to do the next thing correctly. He wants to do the next thing at the best of his ability and that is a very good attribute and quality to have. You never rest on your laurels. If he scores two, he wants three, if he gets an assist, he wants another one. He drives everyone on, of course, sometimes he drives too much and wants to do too much. Tonight, he played his position really well and was in the spaces we wanted him and we can see how efficient he is.”

After falling to Sevilla at the semi-final stage of last season’s Europa League competition, Solskjaer is hoping his team can take the next step and make it to the final this time around.

“We didn’t get anything back from last season’s Europa League run, that’s for sure. We can talk about being in the semi-final and, in the end, we got nothing out of that so maybe sometimes you could look at it not being worth it. But I think the experience from last season has helped this team, these boys, and we have got to learn from experiences on the job. That’s the only way of learning from your mistakes to correct them. I’ve got to say the semi-final defeat last season is still in the back of our heads. Of course, it hurts. We played a very good Sevilla team and felt we should have gone all the way,” concluded Solskjaer.

Bruno Fernandes echoed the thoughts of his manager as he looks to pick up his first winners medal at United.

“It’s about winning, we want to win the games and today we did everything well. The result is on our side but we have the second leg and still have a tough game to come at our home. We want to win again to go through. We know 4-0 is a good result but we have to be aware of what Real Sociedad can do and be ready for the second leg.”

“My target is scoring the most goals I can and obviously get as many assists for my team-mates to score too.”

“The position I play in is to do that, to assist, and score when you can. The most important for me though, the target, is the trophies. Winning trophies is more important than scoring goals.”

While pleased with the result, Fernandes was happier that the swagger returned to the team in a confidence-building display ahead of a tough set of fixtures in March.

“We don’t have to look at the results. We have to look at the performance,” Bruno said, before emphasising the importance of constant improvement.

“We know we haven’t performed well in some games but still, in some games, we have not got the result we wanted after performing well. We need to understand that we have to grow up, get better and better and, of course, the most important thing is the results. They give you a bit more confidence to go into the next game and try to win again.”

While four goals helps the feel-good feeling return for fans and players alike, all involved with the club know there are bigger fish to fry in the coming weeks that will determine whether or not this season ends with success.

Manchester United Shortcomings Exposed By Relegation-Threatened West Brom

For the fourth time in their last five Premier League outings, Manchester United have thrown points away and been found wanting against, at least on paper, inferior opposition.

After inexplicably losing at home to Sheffield United in late January, United went on to draw 0-0 away to an injury-ravaged Arsenal, as well as turning three points into one at home to Everton.

There was the 9-0 mauling of Southampton, an anomaly in what has been a strange season.

Today, United’s shortcomings were once again exposed by a side deep in relegation trouble, as West Brom took the lead in the second minute and could be disappointed not to have scored more and put three points in their back pocket.

For all the progress that has been made under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, and there has been progress both on the pitch and off it, there are still several glaring holes in the squad that will need attention if the red half of Manchester are to bridge the canyon-sized gap to their rivals in blue.

Since joining United for a fee in the region of £80 million, a world record fee for a defender, Harry Maguire has failed to replicate the form he displayed at the 2018 World Cup.

In the Englishman’s defence, the lack of a strong partner has not helped his cause.

Eric Bailly could be a world-class defender and the duo could make a solid rear guard for United to build from, but his woeful injury record means he cannot be relied upon for the rigours of a title challenge.  

At times Victor Lindelöf has shown glimpses of becoming a solid defensive partner, but his lack of physical presence, on show again at The Hawthorns, make United vulnerable to conceding from crosses.

Solskjaer has talked of needing a new centre back, and he must demand reinforcement in the next transfer window.

Dayot Upamecano, a target in last summer’s window, is now off the market having agreed to join Bayern Munich. Yet another in the ever-growing list of transfer market missteps from Executive Vice-Chairman Ed Woodward.

Identifying the next best option should be United’s top priority heading towards the next transfer window. United’s title-winning teams were always built on a solid back four, and one only needs to glance across to the other side of Manchester to see what a strong defence can do, as City look to pull off an unprecedented Quadruple.

While United didn’t do enough to come away with three points against West Brom, the Red Devils can look to several key moments that went against them.

Mbaye Diagne man handled Lindelof to score the opener, the goal allowed to stand despite United’s protestations.

Referee Craig Pawson blew for halftime with United on the attack, stopping any hope of an equaliser in its tracks.

A penalty was awarded in the second half for a foul on Harry Maguire, which was then overturned by VAR.

And finally, former United player Sam Johnstone tipped a goal-bound effort from Maguire onto the post to cap off a miserable night for everyone in red.

After the match, the usual up-beat manager didn’t mince his words, stating United simply weren’t good enough on the night.

“[The performance?] Not worthy of three points. We didn’t do enough to win the game. To earn three points in the Premier League always requires a lot of things – quality, tempo, attitude. We’ve got the right attitude and the work-rate is there. We just didn’t have the quality in the last moments to have the right cross or be in the right place to tap it in.”

“You know, when Harry’s goal against Burnley is disallowed, that is more of a foul [Mbaye Diagne’s challenge on Victor Lindelof for the opening goal]. But, as a striker, I don’t like to see any of those goals taken away. But we want some consistency. It’s definitely more of a foul than what Harry did to the Burnley lad. It would be harsh to lose a goal like this but both of them should have stood for me. I’ve not looked at it again, I just saw it live and have not seen it. Consistency is what we need and it was definitely more of a foul than what Harry did against the Burnley lad. The VAR decision [on United’s penalty]? It’s a foul – as clear as day but he’s offside as well. I think the lad in the VAR room must be asleep [laughs] as he’s not even clocked that he’s off. Consistency and clarity is what we all want and that was a strange moment.”

“It’s a good save by Sam [at the death]. I thought we were going to score just before half-time on the break, three versus one but then he blows the whistle and that was a big moment for us.”

“The attitude is right. I have seen the focus, the work the coaches have done and the focus and their attitude is right. I cannot fault it at all. It’s about the quality in games. It doesn’t matter in the Premier League, if you play the fifth team, the 18th team or the 10th team. You’ve got to produce quality in the big moments. We just lacked that little bit of ruthlessness and clinical finishing. Definitely,” said Solskjaer.

A disappointing evening was punctuated by a moment of brilliance from Bruno Fernandes, who equalised with a stunning strike. One wonders where United would be were it not for the Portuguese playmakers form since joining from Sporting Lisbon 12 months ago.

“It’s fantastic and also fantastic play because we built pressure and kept playing and playing and playing. We didn’t give the ball away and it was a great cross by Luke [Shaw]. It was great technique by Bruno. They defended well, take nothing away from the defending, or Sam’s save at the end. We had to produce more quality and more magic than we did,” added the manager.

United’s run of results away from Old Trafford continued, but Solskjaer expects more from his team against sides languishing in the bottom half of the table.

“At the moment, that record doesn’t mean anything. We are in desperate need for three points. We want to move up the table and you don’t do that by getting one point away from home. Of course, it’s a disappointing outcome today. Then again, some of our play was really good and some of our performances were really good. There are some positives but, overall, we’re disappointed with only one point,” concluded the manager.

While United fans take heart from Liverpool putting up the worst title defence in the history of the Premier League, celebrating another teams shortcomings isn’t the United way.

With Leicester hitting their straps and Chelsea finally looking like a team who invested £150 million in the summer, United will need to ensure they find their match-winning form again – fast – if they don’t want to be drawn into a battle for fourth with the defending champions.

Wasteful Manchester United Gift Everton A Point

On a frustrating night at Old Trafford, Manchester United threw away a 3-2 lead with the last kick of the match, gifting Everton a point while shooting themselves in the foot at home once again.

In a dominant opening half United were 2-0 up thanks to a fine header from Edinson Cavani, followed by a sublime strike from talisman Bruno Fernandes.

However, as the second half began, Everton came out like a new team, applying pressure from the off.

Everton Roar To Life In Second Half

From nowhere the Toffees were given a lifeline, as United goalkeeper parried a cross he should have delt with, gifting Abdoulaye Doucoure a tap in.

Moments later Doucoure turned provider, setting up James Rodriguez to smash in the equaliser, and Everton’s second goal in three minutes.

Once back on even terms, Everton retreated into their defensive shape once more, inviting pressure from United, who duly obliged.

Manchester United Regain The Lead

In the 70th minute a Luke Shaw corner found Scott McTominay who headed towards goaland beyond the outstretched Robin Olsen who appeared to slip at the crucial moment.

Back in the ascendancy, United should have added to their lead, but Marcus Rashford was wasteful, failing to score a fourth to put the game beyond the visitors.

In his time as United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has often been accused of failing to use his substitutes to change the course of a match.

Tonight he brought on defender Axel Tuanzebe to help steady the ship during stoppage time, however, the defender gave away a needless free kick in the dying moments.

Everton Snatch A Draw

The ball was swung in as time was winding down, where Dominic Calvert-Lewin, a livewire for Everton all match, pounced to stab home the equaliser with the final kick of the game.

While Solskjaer’s needless substitution – United were cruising and looked untroubled – did indeed change the game, this wasn’t the impact those in red were hoping for.

In truth, United created enough opportunities to win the game several times over, but lacked the cutting edge needed in key moments.

Solskjaer Left Disappointed

Immediately after the game the United boss cut a dejected figure. While pleased with how his team responded to giving up two goals, he was disappointed they couldn’t close out the final minute.

“Yeah, especially after the way we played the last 40 minutes. They scored two goals early on in the second half and you almost sit back and want to see the reaction, see how the players handle this challenge. They did magnificent, played some fantastic football, scored a goal, should’ve scored a few more. We didn’t really feel threatened at all down there but, of course, with the size they’ve got, you can never ever be sure. We just got a minute to play out and we did not manage it.”

“The players have got character and we played some very good football. We dominated possession, created chances and just couldn’t get the fourth goal that would’ve won us the game, even though we should’ve played this game out, of course. Last minute, that’s… that’s just something we got to learn from,” said Solskjaer.

Paul Pogba Injured

Shortly before half time influential midfielder Paul Pogba, who has been in fine form in 2021, picked up what looked to be a muscle injury and immediately signalled to be substituted.

“It looks like a muscle injury, so we’ve just got to check him up tomorrow and have a scan and get him treatment. Hopefully he’ll recover quickly,” concluded the manager.

The mercurial Frenchman is now a doubt for United’s midweek FA Cup fixture with West Ham.

Wonder Strike From Bruno Fernandes

Shortly before halftime, Portuguese genius Bruno Fernandes took a pass from Aaron Wan-Bissaka, turned, and struck an exquisite shot that fired the Red Devils 2-0 ahead.

In the 12 months since joining United Fernandes has been compared to Eric Cantona on more than one occasion, and this goal was reminiscent of the Frenchman’s superb chip against Sunderland in 1996. All that was missing was Cantona-esque celebration.

Despite the wonder goal, Fernandes was left to rue the two dropped points.

 “There are a lot of things to be disappointed with.”

“We were making so many mistakes in the last few games and we can’t keep conceding goals like that. We have to be more focused, we have to have the same desire to score and to defend our goal.”

“Every time we have to make goals and score goals it has to be the same to not concede and I think we have to learn from this.”

“It has already happened a lot of times so it is more than a bit disappointing. You talk about everything that is going on but it is about learning and make it better,” said Fernandes.

Of the equaliser, Fernandes expressed his frustration, and expects better from his teammates in the future.

“It is really bad and you can’t concede goals like that because from a full 50 yards they are a long way from our goal.”

“You can’t concede this kind of goals from that. We have to be more focused and we have to be ready and we have to be more stronger. We have to defend our goal with everything.”

“For me, it doesn’t matter how we play, we have to win the games, we have to understand the moments. In the second half when we scored the third goal we have to understand that we have to not give away nothing, not to give them chances and to keep trying to score and press them.”

“We don’t do that and unfortunately we concede the goal in the last few seconds,” added Fernandes.

A Reaction Needed Vs West Ham

With games coming thick and fast in an unrelenting season, United will need to pick themselves up once again, and make sure they continue their FA Cup run by beating West Ham on Tuesday.

“We have time. We have time to think again. Everyone knows the past is the past and you can do nothing, but the future you can do something about.”

“So everybody has to be ready and learn from his game. Everything we learn from this game we have to put in the next one and try to win. We have to win,” concluded Fernandes.

Last time Manchester united threw away a two goal lead to Everton at Old Trafford it cost them a Premier League title.

Although this time around nobody had booked any busses for a celebratory parade, with the trophy looking headed to neighbours City, one wonders what the cost will be for this latest aberration.

Watch Manchester United v Everton Highlights

Manchester United Lament Dropped Points At Leicester

leicester-city-v-manchester-united-premier-league-min

It’s testament to how far they have come in the past 12 months that Manchester United are disappointed to come away with just one point, drawing 2-2 against second-placed Leicester City at the King Power Stadium on Boxing Day.

Having gone ahead twice thanks to goals from Marcus Rashford then talisman Bruno Fernandes, an 85th minute own goal from Axel Tuanzebe meant the two sides would share the spoils, and ensured Liverpool were given a Christmas gift of the opportunity to go six points clear of Leicester when they face West Brom on the 28th.

At this time last year, United were more than 20 points behind eventual Champions Liverpool, mired in mid-table obscurity and needing a late-season charge to make the Champions League positions.

Solskjaer’s team have not lost an away game since January, and had won their open six fixtures away from home to kick off the current campaign.

“We feel disappointed. The boys are flat in the dressing room. We created enough chances to score more goals. We defended well but they had one moment at the end. We created big chances. It was a good game of football, end to end,” said Solskjaer.

Bruno Fernandes has now been in the side for one year, and has transformed the squad with leadership, quality, and a hand in 31 goals in his 28 appearances – 18 goals and 13 assists.

Today he provided an assist to Rashford for the opening goal, then pounced on a Cavani pass for the second.

“[Fernandes] is definitely a player that impacts results,” Solskjaer said. “He scores, creates chances and takes risks which any Man United player should be brave enough to do. He is a brave boy. Sometimes there is an easier pass but you can’t take that away from Bruno, you want him to be the X factor.”

While pleased with his sides efforts going forward, Solskjaer was frustrated that his team let three points slip through some slack defending.

“The pressure on the ball for the first one wasn’t good enough. The second one, we could have stopped the cross and maybe it’s a bit unlucky on the deflection.

“When you score as often as we do you have to accept you open up at times. We felt we deserved more from the game. The first goal we should have got to Harvey Barnes and blocked quicker,” concluded the manager.

With the fixtures coming thick and fast, United will have a chance to get back to winning ways again soon. With home games against Wolves and Aston Villa to come, six points from those fixtures will have everyone talking of a summit showdown when United travel to Anfield on January 17th.

While they may not have the consistency of Champions, being in the title race discussion for the first time since 2013 is music to the ears of the Old Trafford faithful.

Manchester United Hammer Hapless Leeds

In their first Premier League meeting since 2004, a rampant Manchester United hammered a hapless Leeds United team 6-2 in a score line that somewhat flattered the visitors, who should be somewhat relieved to have only conceded six goals.

The hosts raced into an early lead, with Scott McTominay scoring two goals in the opening three minutes – the first player in Premier League history to do so.

Things got worse for Leeds who found themselves four goals adrift inside 40 minutes, when Bruno Fernandes scored on 20 minutes, followed by Victor Lindelof after 37.

Leeds United transfer target Daniel James added a fifth goal in the 66th minute, while Fernandes scores his brace with a 70th minute penalty.

For boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, celebrating his second anniversary in charge, it was a performance that harked back to the Sir Alex Ferguson days, but he isn’t getting too carried away.

“We’re one third into the season, we’re not even at the halfway point. The league position isn’t even something we’re looking at. Our fans needed that one, they should have been here. Our players will go home tonight and sleep well. I think they have worked hard enough and deserve maybe a lie in.”

“That was fantastic from the first minute. We had a plan to get after them. We found a way of getting them going. Just imagine if that had 75,000 people here, that would have gone down as one of the best Man United performances against Leeds at home.”

An end to end match finished with eight goals from 43 shots, with United scored six goals against Leeds for just the second time in their history.

“You have to earn the right to win it and it should have, could have been 12-4. You know it’s going to be frantic, hectic against them, because no matter what the result is they have a certain style. We showed we are getting a fitter or stronger team. I’m seeing more and more of a Manchester United team I like. I’ve really enjoyed the two years and really enjoyed today. We want a fit team to go to the end and they’ve proven that lately. There are details to work on and we’ll keep improving,” concluded Solskjaer.

After being out of title races before they’ve begun in the post-Ferguson years, United find themselves in third, five points behind leaders Liverpool with a game in hand.

A Boxing Day trip to Leicester followed by a home game to Wolves will test their title credentials ahead of arguably their most important league game – away to Liverpool on January 17 – since the Scot called time on his trophy-laden coaching career.