Manchester United’s skipper, Bruno Fernandes, clinched a last-minute winner to alleviate the mounting pressure on Erik ten Hag, securing a 1-0 victory against Fulham on Saturday. The Red Devils, struggling for creativity, seemed headed for their sixth draw in the first 11 Premier League matches. Nevertheless, Fernandes unleashed a powerful strike from outside the box in the 91st minute, defeating Bernd Leno, bringing a sigh of relief to his manager.
Fernandes commented, “We delivered, we got the three points, and that’s what matters most. Everyone knows the situation isn’t ideal. The last two games’ performances and results aren’t up to our standard, but today was a different game.”
The victory propelled United to sixth place, closing the gap to the top four by five points. Ten Hag criticized Marcus Rashford for attending a nightclub’s birthday party after last weekend’s 3-0 loss to Manchester City, deeming it “unacceptable.” However, he clarified that Rashford’s absence from the matchday squad was due to injury, not disciplinary action.
United needed a strong start after a disappointing week, which also saw them lose 3-0 to Newcastle at home, ending their League Cup campaign.
In the seventh minute, United seemingly found the net, courtesy of Scott McTominay, who had been their most consistent goal source recently. Unfortunately, Harry Maguire’s offside position while trying to play the ball to Alejandro Garnacho resulted in a VAR-ruled disallowed goal following a four-minute review.
Thereafter, United’s attack struggled to seriously threaten Fulham’s goal. Antony was substituted by Ten Hag after delivering another lackluster performance, and Rasmus Hojlund continued to wait for his first Premier League goal.
Fulham, who had difficulty scoring since Aleksandar Mitrovic’s departure to the Saudi Pro League, had a dominant spell in the early second half. Andre Onana was forced to parry powerful efforts from Harry Wilson and Joao Palhinha, while Willian narrowly missed another promising opportunity.
United seemed destined for their first draw since April until Fulham’s self-inflicted wound in stoppage time. Palhinha’s failed clearances led to Fernandes, who had been a target of criticism in the campaign, providing a moment of brilliance. He calmly shifted onto his right foot and fired into the bottom corner, despite Leno getting a hand to the shot.
The defeat leaves Fulham in 14th place, seven points clear of the relegation zone.