Bruno Fernandes played the hero’s role for Manchester United, securing a last-minute goal to seal a 1-0 Premier League victory against Fulham on Saturday. Express Sport examines four key takeaways from this crucial, albeit far-from-convincing, win in the capital.
- Rashford’s Reaction Speaks Volumes: Manchester United’s early momentum dissipated when Scott McTominay’s 11th-minute opener was controversially disallowed for offside. Until Fernandes’ 91st-minute winner, Ten Hag’s squad seemed devoid of ideas and direction. Marcus Rashford, though on the bench due to injury, conveyed his displeasure when the camera captured him during the first half. Ten Hag had criticized Rashford’s post-Manchester derby party as ‘unacceptable’ on Friday, but this omission was unrelated and resolved internally.
- Blame Culture is Evident: TNT Sports commentators Darren Fletcher and Jermaine Jenas noted ‘worrying’ gestures among United players in the second half. Players like Rasmus Hojlund were seen expressing frustration and blaming teammates. The atmosphere changed drastically at full-time after Fernandes’ moment of brilliance, but the overall performance remained underwhelming.
- Hojlund’s Frustration: Hojlund arrived at United with a massive burden on his shoulders, given his £72 million price tag. However, he has yet to score in eight Premier League games. While not entirely his fault, the service provided to him has been lacking. Antony, the expensive signing, has struggled both offensively and defensively. On the other hand, Garnacho showed promise but had a penchant for shooting rather than crossing. Hojlund’s frustration was evident when he was substituted in the second half.
- United’s Fulham Fortunes: Historically, United has enjoyed Premier League matches, and this visit to Fulham was no exception, except for the disallowed McTominay goal. United extended their streak of seven consecutive league victories at Craven Cottage. The only longer such run occurred at West Bromwich Albion between 1984 and 2011. Ten Hag’s squad could potentially finish the Premier League gameweek in sixth place with results in their favor, boasting six wins from their first 11 games despite a -4 goal difference. While this victory might relieve some of the mounting pressure on Ten Hag, the performance left much to be desired.