Bruno Fernandes scored a stoppage-time winner as Man Utd claimed 1-0 victory at Fulham; pressure relieved on Erik ten Hag after successive 3-0 home defeats; Gary Neville: “I’ve not seen a coaching staff as relieved at the end of a football match for a long time”
Gary Neville gives his reaction to Manchester United’s win away at Fulham in the Premier League
Erik ten Hag insisted he did not need proof his Manchester United players still support him after they secured a vital 1-0 win at Fulham on Saturday.
Man Utd were heading for a third successive game without a win or a goal at Craven Cottage until Bruno Fernandes scored a stoppage-time winner in front of the away fans.
The result saw Ten Hag’s side bounce back from successive 3-0 home defeats against Manchester City and Newcastle and asked whether the jubilant scenes after Fernandes’ winner showed the dressing room still backs him, Ten Hag said: “I knew that and we’ve seen it again.
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Sky Sports’ Michael Bridge and Joe Shread give their verdict on Manchester United’s dramatic 1-0 win at Fulham, including how Bruno Fernandes stepped up when it counted and why Erik ten Hag still has problems to solve
“It’s a good dressing room and they fight for each other. They know what the standards are. At Manchester United, they have to win every game. That is the attitude you need when you play for this club.”
However, Man Utd are still outside the Champions League qualification places and now face a crucial European game against Copenhagen on Wednesday before Luton visit Old Trafford on Saturday.
Ten Hag is under no illusions his side still have a long way to go, highlighting a lack of attacking output that saw Rasmus Hojlund receive just one pass in the Fulham box.
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“It was a solid performance,” said the Man Utd manager. “I am pleased, especially with the spirit in the team.
“I was pleased with the way we pressed. Fulham play very decent football from the back but we never allowed them to play from the back.
“It’s clear we have to create more in the box but the composure on the ball was a step up.”
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Man Utd's next five fixtures
- Wednesday November 8 – Copenhagen (A) – Champions League, kick-off 8pm
- Saturday November 11 – Luton (H) – Premier League, kick-off 3pm
- Sunday November 26 – Everton (A) – Premier League, kick-off 4.30pm, live on Sky Sports
- Wednesday November 29 – Galatasaray (A) – Champions League, kick-off 5.45pm
- Saturday December 2 – Newcastle (A) – Premier League, kick-off 8pm
Ten Hag reserved special praise for Fernandes, who faced calls from Roy Keane last week to have the captaincy removed from him.
Fernandes has scored three winning goals already this season and Ten Hag said: “So often already, from the moment I made him captain, he did this.
“Always he is giving energy and he is the example. You see the way he is pressing. He is absolutely the example and he is taking responsibility all the time, on and off the pitch.
“I am happy with my captain.”
Bruno Fernandes scored a late winner for Manchester United as they won away at Fulham
Ten Hag also revealed he did not know about Marcus Rashford’s injury when he publicly criticised the forward for his birthday celebrations on Friday.
Rashford was at Craven Cottage but was left out of the squad against Fulham, with Ten Hag insisting his absence was due to injury rather than being a punishment.
“He had some complaints after the training,” explained Ten Hag. “He travelled with us but it was a risk to start him and lose him for more weeks. We have many more important games to play.”
Image: Marcus Rashford watches from the stands after being left out of the Man Utd match-day squad
Neville: I’ve not seen a coaching staff as relieved as that!
Analysis by Sky Sports’ Gary Neville:
“They were never going to go from being as bad as they have been to being amazing in performance terms but obviously a victory was so necessary. I’ve not seen a coaching staff as relieved at the end of a football match for a long time.
“Erik ten Hag and all his coaches were going over to all the players. They knew how big that was. The pressure has been building and righty so as the performances have been awful. That was a huge moment for them.
Image: Erik ten Hag celebrates Man Utd's late winner at Fulham
“A bit of respite but I do not think it is celebration times – but certainly something that will give them a few days off.
“It certainly will [turn the noise and negativity down] but I do not think anyone will be conned into thinking everything is fixed. The performance [at Fulham] was so poor.
“He has so many injuries but you can’t believe there has been £1bn spent. It is incredible when you see the players that are out on the pitch.
“But they have won the game. Fulham are obviously struggling to score goals and that was a game of two teams who did not look very comfortable going forward, but Man Utd get a goal late on.
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“I did say earlier in the week that Bruno Fernandes, as much as can be said about him, does have world-class ability and that little bit of magic at the end.
“That is what Man Utd have: a few players who can produce in moments. There is no repeated patterns of play or style we see that stands out.
“We do see these moments sometimes that mean they can win football matches and every game they have won this season has been like that – one goal.
“They have been very lucky in games but they do have a habit of getting over the line against these teams that are weaker.
“It is the teams who have anything about them where they struggle…”