Fernandes Sinks Southampton As Man Utd Maintain Revival

Manchester United's Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes (C) scores his team's first goal past Southampton's Irish goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu during the English Premier League football match between Southampton and Manchester United at St Mary's Stadium in Southampton, southern England on August 27, 2022. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP)
Manchester United’s Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes (C) scores his team’s first goal past Southampton’s Irish goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu during the English Premier League football match between Southampton and Manchester United at St Mary’s Stadium in Southampton, southern England on August 27, 2022. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP)

 

Manchester United maintained their revival as Bruno Fernandes clinched a hard-fought 1-0 win at Southampton on Saturday.

Erik ten Hag’s side sat bottom of the Premier League after losing their opening two games against Brighton and Brentford.

But United have recovered from that embarrassing start to secure successive league victories for the first time since February.

Fernandes netted with a composed strike early in the second half and the Portugal midfielder’s first goal this season lifted United into sixth place ahead of the rest of the weekend’s matches.

Ten Hag named the same starting line-up that defeated Liverpool 2-1 on Monday, meaning unsettled star Cristiano Ronaldo and club captain Harry Maguire were both on the bench.

Ronaldo, keen to leave Old Trafford before the transfer window closes on September 1, was largely anonymous when he came on for the last 20 minutes.

Casemiro helped United close out the win as the Brazil midfielder made his debut in a 10-minute substitute appearance following his move from Real Madrid.

United were some way short of the intensity and quality that inspired their win against Liverpool.

But they showed the grit so badly lacking in the first two games as they kept Southampton at bay after Fernandes’ goal.

Ten Hag will be pleased that Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez stood firm at centre-back, rewarding his decision to keep Maguire on the sidelines.

It took an incredible combination of superb goalkeeping and last-ditch defending to stop United taking the lead midway through the first-half.

When Southampton failed to clear a cross, Gavin Bazunu had to scramble to block Anthony Elanga’s shot at the far post.

In the ensuing melee, Christian Eriksen looked certain to score but Kyle Walker-Peters blocked his shot on the line before Fernandes saw his goalbound strike repelled by Armel Bella-Kotchap.

Bella-Kotchap should have made United pay for those misses when a corner fell to the Saints defender, but he somehow contrived to shoot high into the stands from close-range.

Che Adams couldn’t generate enough power to beat David De Gea after making a perfectly-timed run behind the flat-footed United defence.

Scott McTominay’s drive tested Bazunu early in the second half, while Bella-Kotchap made a superb tackle to stop Elanga as he prepared to shoot after bursting through on goal.

Although United were never dominant, they conjured an impressive move to break the deadlock in the 55th minute.

A flurry of passes scythed through the Southampton midfield and Diogo Dalot curled a cross towards Fernandes, who guided a fine volley past Bazunu from just inside the area.

Southampton pushed for an equaliser but they were frustrated when a strong penalty appeal was rejected by VAR after McTominay handled as he challenged Adams for a high ball.

De Gea preserved United’s slender lead with a reflex save from Joe Aribo’s close-range header, with Walker-Peters nodding the rebound over.

Bella-Kotchap blazed over and Sekou Mara shot wide as Southampton wasted their chance to deny United victory.

AFP

Fernandes Fit To Face Liverpool Despite Car Crash

Bruno Fernandes signed a 4 year deal with Manchester United
Photo of Manchester United, player, Bruno Fernandes

 

Bruno Fernandes will be fit for Manchester United’s Premier League trip to Liverpool despite being involved in a minor car crash on Monday.

No parties involved are understood to have sustained serious injuries and Fernandes took part in training with the rest of the United squad on the eve of the game at Anfield.

“Obviously the accident happened on the way to Carrington, but as far as I know nobody was injured,” Rangnick said at his pre-match press conference.

“He trained with the team and he was ok. That’s why I think he will also be ok for tomorrow.”

Both sides are in desperate need of the points for different reasons.

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Liverpool can go top with victory over their old rivals, who they thrashed 5-0 at Old Trafford earlier in the season.

United needed a Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick to see off bottom-of-the-table Norwich 3-2 on Saturday, but defeats for Arsenal and Tottenham have given Rangnick’s men new life in the fight for a place in the top four and next season’s Champions League.

“It’s only about our situation and after last weekend’s results we are still in the race for the top four,” added Rangnick. “In order to stay in that race, we have to win almost every game, starting with tomorrow.”

However, Rangnick was scathing in his assessment of his own side’s performance out of possession against Norwich at the weekend.

“We must be at our very best defensively but still have an approach to the game where we can be a threat,” said the German.

“We still know that if we raise our level, if we play a top performance, we have a chance to get three points and this will be our ambition and our goal for tomorrow.”

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp was influenced by Rangnick’s methods early in his coaching career, but Klopp said the pair’s relationship has been “on hold” since Rangnick arrived in England.

“We didn’t have contact since he is in England, since he is at United. I think that’s just a mutual respect -– I respect his job, he respects my job,” said Klopp.

Liverpool are overwhelming favourites to infict more misery on United and take another step towards a potential quadruple of trophies.

Klopp’s men have already won the League Cup, will face Chelsea in the FA Cup final next month and take on Villarreal in the Champions League semi-finals.

“Two of the biggest clubs in the world for sure face each other. Massive history around, big fights in the past, big fights since I’m here,” added Klopp.

“This time it’s an incredibly important game again for both teams. That says it all.”

AFP

Bruno Fernandes Signs Manchester United Contract Extension

Bruno Fernandes signed a 4 year deal with Manchester United
Photo of Manchester United, player, Bruno Fernandes

Manchester United midfielder, Bruno Fernandes, has penned down a contract extension that keeps him at Old Trafford till 2026.

Fernandes has become an invaluable member of the team since arriving from Sporting Lisbon in 2020, where he has found the back of the net 49 times and provided 39 assists in 117 appearances.

The Portuguese is expected to earn around £240,000 a week with the option of a year’s extension.

“Manchester United is delighted to announce that Bruno Fernandes has signed a new contract, which will keep him at the club until June 2026, with the option to extend for a further year,” was what the club’s official statement revealed on Friday.

The 27-year-old couldn’t hide his excitement saying “That dream is now a reality and an honour.”

“Even after two years, it still feels amazing to step out at Old Trafford, to hear the fans sing my song and to score in front of the Stretford End. It is a true privilege to wear this shirt and to fight for our incredible club,” he also said.

“There is so much more that I want to achieve here, and I know that is the same for the rest of the squad and staff. More than anything, we want to give the fans the success that they deserve.”

Fernandes, who has already won the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year award twice, has created more chances than any other United player since joining the club in January 2020.

Fernandes, Pogba Shine As Five-Star Man Utd Thrash Leeds

Manchester United’s English striker Jadon Sancho (R) comes onto the field during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Leeds United at Old Trafford in Manchester, northwest England, on August 14, 2021. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP)

 

 

Bruno Fernandes scored a hat-trick and Paul Pogba provided four assists as Manchester United thrashed Leeds 5-1 at a packed Old Trafford on Saturday to get their Premier League season off to a flying start.

In front of 73,000, the biggest football crowd in the United Kingdom since March 2020, United ran riot with their two midfield maestros sparking hope of a challenge for a first league title since Alex Ferguson retired as manager in 2013.

Fernandes gave the home side a deserved half-time lead, but Leeds levelled early in the second-half through Luke Ayling’s stunning strike.

However, with Pogba in scintillating form, United were not to be denied as the Frenchman teed up Mason Greenwood, Fernandes and Fred, while Fernandes completed his first United hat-trick in thumping fashion.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men finished a distant second to Manchester City in the Premier League last season with any hope of a title challenge undone by their poor record in front of an empty Old Trafford.

The Theatre of Dreams was transformed into a cacophony of noise by a full house, which resulted in a similar transformation on the field from United.

The home fans were on their feet even before a ball was kicked to welcome Raphael Varane as the French centre-back was paraded on the pitch following his arrival from Real Madrid for a reported £40 million ($55 million).

Varane was not registered in time to make his debut, while United’s other big money signing of the summer Jadon Sancho started on the bench.

United were also without Marcus Rashford and Edinson Cavani, but that allowed Pogba to star in his favoured role on the left of a front three.

The 28-year-old has again been the source of speculation in recent weeks after starring for France in an otherwise disappointing Euro 2020 for the world champions.

But Pogba finally produced his international form for United as he surpassed his tally of assists for the entire 2020/21 league season inside 90 minutes.

The only blot on the former Juventus midfielder’s day was his finishing as he slotted wide with just Illan Meslier to beat midway through the first-half.

Fernandes showed Pogba how to do it as United cut Leeds apart for the opening goal.

Pogba’s dinked ball over the top perfectly picked out the Portuguese and Meslier could not keep out his powerful effort despite getting his foot to it.

 

Manchester United’s Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes (C) holds the match ball as he reacts with teammates at the final whistle during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Leeds United at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on August 14, 2021. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ‘live’ services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. /

 

Leeds were lucky to go in at half-time only one goal behind and looked to have regrouped at the break when they levelled in stunning fashion three minutes into the second-half.

Ayling strode forward from right-back to unleash an unstoppable effort from 25 yards into the top corner for his first ever Premier League goal.

However, the jubilation of the travelling Leeds support was short-lived thanks to Pogba’s vision four minutes later.

Greenwood was the recipient of the defence-splitting pass this time as he sprinted clear of Pascal Struijk and fired accurately in off the far post.

Fernandes then slotted home his second of the afternoon from another Pogba pass before completing his first United hat-trick in style with a thumping finish into the roof of the net from Victor Lindelof’s long ball.

Leeds were thrashed 6-2 on their first league visit to Old Trafford for 16 years last season and Marcelo Bielsa’s men headed back to Yorkshire with their tails between their legs once more as United ran riot.

Pogba’s fourth assist of the afternoon teed up Fred to slot home a rare goal from the edge of the box.

Solskjaer could then afford the luxury of handing Sancho his debut with the game won as the £73 million winger and Anthony Martial were introduced for the final 15 minutes.

They could not add to the score, but United’s work was already done as they sent out an early warning to their title rivals.

Europa League: Fernandes Scores Brace In United’s 4-0 Bashing Of Sociedad 

Manchester United’s Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes (R) scores a goal past Real Sociedad’s Spanish goalkeeper Alex Remiro during the UEFA Europa League round of 32 first leg football match between Real Sociedad and Manchester United at the Juventus stadium in Turin on February 18, 2021. Marco BERTORELLO / AFP

 

Bruno Fernandes scored twice as Manchester United romped to a 4-0 victory over Real Sociedad in their Europa League last-32 first leg on Thursday, while Gareth Bale impressed for Tottenham in a 4-1 thrashing of Austrian side Wolfsberg.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s United are all but into the last 16, with four ‘away’ goals to take into the return game in a week’s time, after the first leg was played in Turin due to coronavirus travel restrictions.

“We know 4-0 is a good result but we have to be aware of what they can do,” Fernandes told BT Sport. “My target is to score the most goals I can, that is my position. The only target is to win trophies.”

United started slowly in the first 10 minutes but began to grow into the game, with Marcus Rashford wasting two excellent chances.

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The Premier League outfit did grab the lead in the 27th minute when Fernandes pounced on a mix-up between Sociedad goalkeeper Alex Remiro and defender Robin Le Normand, as they attempted to clear Rashford’s clipped pass, to slot in.

Solskjaer’s men doubled their advantage 12 minutes into the second period as Fernandes stroked home his 21st goal of the season in all competitions after Daniel James had laid off Rashford’s ball.

The effort was initially ruled out for offside before the linesman’s decision was overruled by VAR.

Manchester United’s Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes (C) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during the UEFA Europa League round of 32 first leg football match between Real Sociedad and Manchester United at the Juventus stadium in Turin on February 18, 2021. Marco BERTORELLO / AFP

 

United continued to play at a pace Sociedad could not deal with and Rashford finally got his goal in the 65th minute following a blistering counter-attack started by goalkeeper Dean Henderson.

The tie was surely put to bed in the final minute of normal time as James raced clear and fired into the bottom corner.

– Bale strikes –
Bale’s agent Jonathan Barnett had said on Wednesday the Wales winger was “towards the end of his career”, after Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho had questioned the player’s Instagram post suggesting he was in good health despite being unavailable for Spurs’ FA Cup defeat at Everton last week.

But Bale notched his first Tottenham assist since April 2013 to tee up Son Heung-min for the opening goal in Budapest against Wolfsberg, before drilling in the second before the half-hour mark.

A wonderful individual strike from Lucas Moura extended Spurs’ first-half lead, and although Michael Liendl pulled one back for the Austrians with a second-half penalty, the English club have one foot in the next round after Carlos Vinicius’ 88th-minute goal.

“I have a really close relationship with him (Bale),” said Son. “I’m very happy he’s getting game time and scored a goal and got an assist. I really enjoy playing with him.”

Tottenham Hotspur’s Welsh striker Gareth Bale (R) shoots past Wolfsberg’s Swedish defender Gustav Henriksson but fails to score during the UEFA Europa League, last-32 first leg football match Wolfsberger AC v Tottenham Hotspur at the Puskas Arena in Budapest on February 18, 2021. Attila KISBENEDEK / AFP

 

Mourinho has never lost a knockout tie in the competition, which he won with Porto in 2003 and Man United in 2017.

AC Milan, who have not reached the quarter-finals of any European competition since the 2011-12 Champions League, had to settle for a 2-2 draw at Red Star Belgrade.

Milan, who face Inter in a top-of-the-table Serie A derby on Sunday, were pegged back as Milan Pavkov netted a dramatic 93rd-minute leveller for Red Star, who played the closing stages with 10 men.

Leicester, sitting third in the Premier League, were held to a goalless draw at Slavia Prague, but there was plenty of excitement elsewhere.

Patrik Schick scored twice as Bayer Leverkusen fought back from three goals down only to lose 4-3 to Young Boys in Bern, while Olympiakos beat PSV Eindhoven 4-2 in Piraeus.

Dinamo Zagreb edged out Krasnodar 3-2 in Russia and Edin Dzeko’s early goal helped Roma to a 2-0 win at 10-man Braga.

AFP

One Year Of Fernandes Transforms Man United From Title Pretenders To Contenders

File photo: Manchester United’s Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes celebrates scoring during the English Premier League football match between Newcastle United and Manchester United at St James’ Park in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, north east England on October 17, 2020. Alex Pantling / POOL / AF

 

 

Manchester United may have surrendered top spot in the Premier League with a shock home defeat to bottom-of-the-table Sheffield United, but the fact the Red Devils are even involved in a title race is testament to Bruno Fernandes’s first 12 months at Old Trafford.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men travel to Arsenal on Saturday a year to the day since the Portuguese midfielder joined a side languishing 30 points off the top in fifth place.

Solskjaer’s days in charge looked numbered after a toxic response from the home support to a 2-0 defeat to Burnley in United’s final league game before Fernandes’s arrival.

In 52 appearances, the 26-year-old has scored 28 goals and provided 18 assists, earning comparisons to Eric Cantona’s talismanic turnaround in United’s fortunes.

solskjaer-man-united
File photo: Manchester United’s Norwegian manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (C), FC Copenhagen’s Greek midfielder Zeca and Manchester United’s Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes react at the end of the UEFA Europa League quarter-final football match between Manchester United and FC Copenhagen at the RheinEnergieStadion, in Cologne, western Germany, on August 10, 2020.
WOLFGANG RATTAY / AFP / POOL

 

Over the past year, no team has taken more Premier League points than United.

However, Fernandes’s impact goes beyond the stats.

For a side badly in need of a leader, the former Sporting Lisbon captain has come to the fore, demanding that others match his standards.

READ ALSO: Man Utd Title Hopes Hit By Sheffield United Defeat

“I don’t do anything like saying ‘I want to be a leader or I want to do things in a different way to someone’, it’s the natural way I have. It’s something that’s in my game,” said Fernandes.

“For me the point is helping everyone with my voice when I can and also with my energy and everything I do in the game to help the team.”

That has led to on-pitch rebukes of his teammates and frustration at Solskjaer whenever he is substituted or rested.

But it is also a commitment to excellence has often been missing from United in the eight years since legendary former manager Alex Ferguson retired.

“He’s never happy with me when I tell him to go inside after training when he’s playing the next day so he got some practice yesterday,” said Solskjaer after Fernandes came off the bench to score the winner with a stunning free-kick against Liverpool in the FA Cup last weekend.

“When you leave him out like I did today, he stayed about 45 minutes after training yesterday shooting free-kicks so I was pretty confident he could score one if he got the chance.”

The most successful club in English football history when it comes to league titles have not even competed for one since Ferguson’s departure.

“My mentality, my way to be in my life and football is about winning,” said Fernandes this week.

“I don’t conform with losing games is normal stuff. For me, losing is not normal so my mentality comes from that.”

 

Manchester United's Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes (L) celebrates scoring their second goal with Manchester United's French midfielder Paul Pogba (R) during the English Premier League football match between Brighton and Hove Albion and Manchester United at the American Express Community Stadium in Brighton, southern England on June 30, 2020. Alastair Grant / POOL / AFP
File photo: Manchester United’s Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes (L) celebrates scoring their second goal with Manchester United’s French midfielder Paul Pogba (R) during the English Premier League football match between Brighton and Hove Albion and Manchester United at the American Express Community Stadium in Brighton, southern England on June 30, 2020.
Alastair Grant / POOL / AFP

 

United had not suffered defeat in the league for 13 games stretching back to November until they were blunted by the Blades in midweek.

Manchester City have moved into the pole position at the top of the table with an ominous run for the other challengers of 11 consecutive wins in all competitions.

If United are to remain in the race, a return to winning ways is needed at the Emirates on Saturday, where they have lost on their two previous visits under Solskjaer.

Those defeats came prior to Fernandes’s arrival. In the past year, United have undoubtedly progressed, but without trophies to show for it.

Manchester United’s Norwegian manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (L) shakes hands with FC Copenhagen’s Greek midfielder Zeca, next to Manchester United’s Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes at the end of the UEFA Europa League quarter-final football match between Manchester United and FC Copenhagen at the RheinEnergieStadion, in Cologne, western Germany, on August 10, 2020. (Photo by WOLFGANG RATTAY / various sources / AFP)

 

Solskjaer’s men have lost four cup semi-finals in the past two seasons and crashed out of the Champions League at the group stages in December.

“I come to the club because I knew I will come to a club who wants to win everything,” Fernandes said on the attraction United still holds for top players.

A four-year drought without any silverware is too long for a club of United’s size, but it is thanks to Fernandes they are at least now contenders.

AFP

Man United Suit My Winning Mentality, Says Fernandes

File photo: Manchester United’s Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes celebrates scoring during the English Premier League football match between Newcastle United and Manchester United at St James’ Park in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, north east England on October 17, 2020.
Alex Pantling / POOL / AF

 

Bruno Fernandes says Manchester United suit his mentality because they are “a club who wants to win everything” as he marks his one-year anniversary at the Premier League leaders this week.

The 26-year-old Portuguese international has transformed the fortunes of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side since joining from Sporting Lisbon in January 2020.

His winner in Sunday’s thrilling 3-2 win over Liverpool in their FA Cup fourth-round tie was his 28th goal for United.

“I come to the club because I knew I will come to a club who wants to win everything — and my mentality, my way to be in my life and football is about winning,” Fernandes told the Press Association news agency.

“And so you have to be confident, you have to trust your team-mates, you have to trust yourself, and you have to believe.

“And I will believe until it’s not more possible, you know? Like when I see someone get the trophy before me, then I will (have) lost my belief.”

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Fernandes’ winning mentality is fuelled by his hatred of losing.

“I don’t conform with losing games is normal stuff,” he said. “For me, losing is not normal so my mentality comes from that.”

United have lost four semi-finals since the Portuguese arrived at Old Trafford, the latest earlier this month in the League Cup to Manchester City.

The club have not won the league since Alex Ferguson’s retirement in 2013 and they last won silverware in 2017.

Fernandes, who has faced criticism over his recent performances, came off the bench to score with a thumping free-kick against Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool on Sunday.

The midfielder denied he was beginning to feel the strain of a punishing season.

“Tired? With 26 years old I can’t be tired,” he said. “If I’m tired now, when I arrive at 30, 32, I will not play. I will play one game in five so, no, I’m not tired.

“Of course the coach (Solskjaer) knows what is better for the team and (for the FA Cup tie) he choose to play with Donny (van de Beek) to give some freshness to the team.”

AFP

Bruno Fernandes’ Winner Sends Liverpool Out Of FA Cup

Bruno Fernandes has been a vital part of United’s recent fine form. Photo: [email protected] United FC.

 

Portuguese star Bruno Fernandes’ freekick was enough to send Manchester United to the next round of the FA Cup with a 3-2 win over rival Liverpool on Sunday.

Fernandes struck with 12 minutes left at Old Trafford to cap a thrilling clash that left Liverpool searching for answers after another painful defeat.

Jurgen Klopp’s side took the lead through Mohamed Salah’s first-half goal, but Mason Greenwood equalised before the interval.

Marcus Rashford put United in front after the break and, although Salah equalised, Portugal midfielder Fernandes came off the bench to fire his free-kick past Alisson Becker.

After slumping to fourth in the Premier League following Thursday’s shock 1-0 defeat against Burnley — their first league loss at Anfield since 2017 — Liverpool have to lick their wounds again.

READ ALSO: Hurt And Heartbroken McGregor Ponders Future After Knockout Shock

Liverpool, who trail leaders United by six points, have won only one of their last seven games in all competitions and that lone success came against Aston Villa’s youth team in the FA Cup third round.

Liverpool struck in the 18th minute when Roberto Firmino threaded a pass to Salah, who lifted his shot over Dean Henderson.

United levelled in the 26th minute when Rashford sent Greenwood clear for a low strike past Alisson Becker.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men netted again in the 48th minute as a mistake from Liverpool’s young defender Rhys Williams allowed Greenwood to race clear and score.

Firmino’s cross was converted by Salah for Liverpool’s 58th-minute equaliser, but Fernandes won it with his sublime set-piece after Fabinho fouled Edinson Cavani.

United will host West Ham in the fifth round as their momentum continues to build.

“You know when you go a goal down the reaction of everyone was really good. We played some really good stuff, good goals. We have to defend well against them and we managed to react well,” Solskjaer said.

Liverpool have never got past the fifth round in Klopp’s reign, but that will be the least of his concerns as he tries to spark a revival from his spluttering team.

“There was a lot of good things and some mistakes around the goals. If you want to win here you have to be absolutely top and we were not,” Klopp said.

– Relief for Lampard –
Lampard has been under the spotlight, but there was some relief for the Blues boss as Abraham’s finishing helped seal a 3-1 victory against Luton.

 

Chelsea’s English striker Tammy Abraham (2nd L) celebrates with teammates after scoring his third goal, Chelsea’s third during the English FA Cup fourth round football match between Chelsea and Luton Town at Stamford Bridge in London on January 24, 2021. DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP

 

The England striker struck twice in the opening 17 minutes, first firing into the far corner before heading home from close range for his 10th goal of the season.

However, it was not all plain sailing for Lampard’s men as goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga was at fault for another sloppy goal, while Timo Werner’s lack of confidence will not have been helped by missing a penalty.

Jordan Clark’s low shot crept past Kepa’s woeful attempted save to give Luton a lifeline and the world’s most expensive ‘keeper had to make a much more difficult stop to deny Harry Cornick an equaliser in the second half.

A brilliant team move finally killed the tie off 16 minutes from time as substitute Callum Hudson-Odoi crossed for Abraham to tap home from point-blank range.

Werner had a chance to score just his second goal in 16 games when he was tripped by Clark, but his dreadful spell continued as his tame penalty was saved by Simon Sluga.

With Chelsea now well off the pace in the Premier League and facing a tough last-16 tie against La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid in the Champions League, the FA Cup may prove Lampard’s best chance of saving his job by winning a trophy.

A trip to Barnsley in the fifth round awaits early next month should the former England midfielder steady the ship in the league to remain in charge until then.

Leicester won 3-1 at second-tier Brentford to set up a home tie against Brighton.

Burnley beat Fulham 3-0 at Craven Cottage and play Bournemouth or Crawley in the last 16.

AFP

‘The Squad Is Fine’: Solskjaer Refuses To Blame Champions League Exit On Pogba Disruption

Manchester United's Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes (R) reacts next to Leipzig's Hungarian goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi holding the ball as Leipzig's Hungarian defender Willi Orban lays on the ground during the UEFA Champions League Group H football match RB Leipzig v Manchester United in Leipzig, eastern Germany, on December 8, 2020. Odd ANDERSEN / AFP / POOL
Manchester United’s Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes (R) reacts next to Leipzig’s Hungarian goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi holding the ball as Leipzig’s Hungarian defender Willi Orban lays on the ground during the UEFA Champions League Group H football match RB Leipzig v Manchester United in Leipzig, eastern Germany, on December 8, 2020. Odd ANDERSEN / AFP / POOL

 

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer refused to blame claims that Paul Pogba is “unhappy” for their Champions League exit after a 3-2 defeat at RB Leipzig.

United were punished for a slow start, conceding early goals by Manchester City loanee Angelino and Amadou Haidara before Justin Kluivert put Leipzig 3-0 up midway through the second half.

United pulled back goals in the final ten minutes as Pogba came on to score a late header to make it 3-2 after Bruno Fernandes converted a penalty.

In the build-up, Pogba’s agent Mino Raiola said the World Cup-winning France midfielder, 27, is “unhappy” and needs a “change of scene” after struggling to establish himself under Solskjaer.

READ ALSO: Ronaldo Scores Twice As Juventus Beat Messi’s Barcelona

Solksjaer gave a terse answer when asked if Raiola’s comments had unsettled his side.

“The squad is fine, they are a team and they stick together, as soon as Paul’s agent realises it’s a team sport and we work together, the better,” he said.

“That is the last thing I want to say about it,” Solksjaer replied when asked if he had spoken to Pogba about Raiola’s comments.

Manchester United’s Norwegian manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (R) brings on Manchester United’s French midfielder Paul Pogba during the UEFA Champions League Group H football match RB Leipzig v Manchester United in Leipzig, eastern Germany, on December 8, 2020. Odd ANDERSEN / AFP

 

Instead, the Norwegian blamed the defeat on his side’s lethargic start.

“We didn’t perform well enough as a team,” he said.

“We knew they would come at us and put crosses in the box and, unfortunately, we conceded two goals and never got going.

“We just didn’t turn up until they scored the second goal – then we started playing.”

He praised his team’s fightback.

“They gave their all, I can’t fault anyone’s effort and we were close to getting the third, which would have been an achievement against a good Leipzig side,” he added.

The 47-year-old said he needed to cure United of their habit of beginning slowly in European games.

“We didn’t start until it was 2-0, which is something we need to address again, we need to manage that better,” Solskjaer added.

United face a Manchester derby at the weekend.

“As a footballer you can’t feel sorry for yourself. You can do for a few minutes tonight, but that’s it. We have a massive game on Saturday and we need to focus on that.”

Leipzig avenged their 5-0 thrashing against Manchester United at Old Trafford in October to the delight of their coach Julian Nagelsmann.

“It wasn’t easy to have had a 5-0 defeat in October, then to have to win the second game to go to the knock-out stage,” said Nagelsmann who steered Leipzig to the semi-finals last season.

“We got the win today and I think it’s deserved.”

AFP

Bruno Fernandes To Captain United Against PSG In Champions League Opener

Manchester United’s Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes celebrates scoring during the English Premier League football match between Newcastle United and Manchester United at St James’ Park in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, northeast England on October 17, 2020.
Alex Pantling / POOL / AF

 

Harry Maguire did not travel with the Manchester United squad for Tuesday’s Champions League Group H opener away to Paris Saint-Germain as manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer confirmed Bruno Fernandes will captain the visitors in the French capital.

“We’re a little bit depleted but we’ve got more than enough players,” said Solskjaer, who is without Maguire, Mason Greenwood, Eric Bailly, Jesse Lingard, and new signing Edinson Cavani for the game.

“We hope that the players won’t be away for too long. Edinson needs a few more days training before maybe we can think about the weekend, hopefully, Harry can and Mason as well but we’re not sure about that,” added the United manager of the players’ prospects of being back to face Chelsea on Saturday.

Fernandes, who scored in the 4-1 weekend win at Newcastle United, described being given the captain’s armband in Maguire’s absence as “an honour, an important achievement”.

United are returning to the Champions League this season after missing out in the last campaign.

However, Tuesday’s clash brings back memories of the sides’ encounter in the last 16 in 2018/19, when Solskjaer’s team won thanks to a dramatic late penalty in the second leg at the Parc des Princes.

The Norwegian said: “That’s history for us, it’s in the past, so great history, great game but it has no impact whatsoever on this game.

“We know we’re a different team, they are a different team, it’s a different stage of the competition, it’s of course also without fans so it’s going to be a different game.”

-AFP

Fernandes Penalty Lifts Man Utd Past Dogged Copenhagen

Manchester United’s Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes reacts after an injury during the UEFA Europa League quarter-final football match between Manchester United and FC Copenhagen at the RheinEnergieStadion, in Cologne, western Germany, on August 10, 2020. (Photo by WOLFGANG RATTAY / POOL / AFP)

 

Bruno Fernandes scored a penalty in extra time as Manchester United scraped past FC Copenhagen 1-0 on Monday in the quarter-finals of the Europa League, reshaped into an eight-team straight knockout tournament in Germany due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Portugal international notched his competition-best seventh goal of the season as United set up a semi-final clash against Sevilla or Wolves, joining Inter Milan in the last four following the Italian side’s 2-1 victory over Bayer Leverkusen in Dusseldorf.

“Third time this season we’ve been to the semis, every competition we’ve been in. Delighted we’ve gone through, we deserved to win tonight,” United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer told BT Sport.

“Their keeper was fantastic, unbelievable. We hit the post a few times, there were a couple of VAR decisions against us. It could have been one of those nights that you end up with penalty shoot outs. They made it hard for us.”

 

Manchester United’s Norwegian manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (L) shakes hands with FC Copenhagen’s Greek midfielder Zeca, next to Manchester United’s Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes at the end of the UEFA Europa League quarter-final football match between Manchester United and FC Copenhagen at the RheinEnergieStadion, in Cologne, western Germany, on August 10, 2020. (Photo by WOLFGANG RATTAY / various sources / AFP)

All games from the quarter-finals onwards in this season’s Europa League are being played behind closed doors as one-off ties across four venues — Cologne, Duisburg, Dusseldorf and Gelsenkirchen — in a unique format following a five-month interruption.

Solskjaer recalled Fernandes, Paul Pogba, Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood and Anthony Martial but the 2017 competition winners struggled early, and 18-year-old Copenhagen forward Mohamed Daramy was twice involved as the Danish underdogs threatened a creaking United backline.

Eric Bailly intervened just as Daramy attempted to stab home a bouncing cross, and the Ivorian defender was then played into trouble by Fred with Jens Stage’s subsequent effort blocked.

Rashford finally tested Karl-Johan Johnsson just before the interval with a long-range shot — the first of a multitude of saves for Copenhagen’s outstanding Swedish goalkeeper.

Greenwood looked to have put United ahead as he drilled in via the far post moments later only for the teenager to be ruled offside following a VAR review.

He again went close early in the second half when he slammed against the upright, with Fernandes promptly smacking the opposite post with a dipping 20-yard drive.

The Portugal international, who scored five times in the group stage with Sporting, stung the palms of Johnsson with another hit from distance — shortly after Aaron Wan-Bissaka made a desperation block to thwart Bryan Oviedo after a mesmerising dribble from Rasmus Falk.

Johnsson outstanding in goal

Appearing in their first European quarter-final, and the first Danish club to reach this stage since 1997, Copenhagen continued to frustrate United as they sought a repeat of their 1-0 win when the clubs last met in the Champions League group stage in 2006.

 

Manchester United’s Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes scores a penalty during the UEFA Europa League quarter-final football match between Manchester United and FC Copenhagen at the RheinEnergieStadion, in Cologne, western Germany, on August 10, 2020. (Photo by WOLFGANG RATTAY / various sources / AFP)

Martial nearly won the game in normal time but again a sprawling Johnsson tipped away his curling attempt that appeared destined for the top corner.

The France striker was once more repelled by Johnsson at the start of extra time, but Martial won a penalty as United kept the attack alive and the striker was upended by Andreas Bjelland.

Fernandes blasted home from the spot on 95 minutes but Solskjaer’s team were left to sweat until the end as Johnsson pulled off sensational stops from the Portuguese and substitute Juan Mata, with Victor Lindelof the third United player to strike the post.

United though ultimately ensured their 2019-20 campaign will extend into a second year, having started the season 365 days ago with a 4-0 Premier League win over Chelsea. Awaiting them on Sunday will be Sevilla — who have won the Europa League and its precursor, the UEFA Cup, a record five times — or domestic rivals Wolves.

Former United striker Romelu Lukaku grabbed the decisive goal for Antonio Conte’s Inter against Leverkusen as the Serie A runners-up moved a step closer to adding to their titles from 1991, 1994 and 1998.

Inter struck first as Nicolo Barella guided in from the edge of the area on 15 minutes, with Lukaku bundling in a second six minutes later.

Kai Havertz reduced the deficit in possibly his final game for Leverkusen on 25 minutes after exchanging passes with fellow Germany international Kevin Volland, but Inter held on to seal their place against Shakhtar Donetsk or Basel in next week’s semi-final.

“The defence did a tremendous job again tonight. We are growing but we have to learn to kill games off when we have the chances to do it, and we didn’t tonight,” said Lukaku.

“Now we have time to recover physically and prepare for another great game. We will have to be ready.”

 

 

-AFP

Europa League: Bruno Fernandes’ Late Penalty Sends Man United To Semi-Final

solskjaer-man-united
Manchester United’s Norwegian manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (C), FC Copenhagen’s Greek midfielder Zeca and Manchester United’s Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes react at the end of the UEFA Europa League quarter-final football match between Manchester United and FC Copenhagen at the RheinEnergieStadion, in Cologne, western Germany, on August 10, 2020.
WOLFGANG RATTAY / AFP / POOL

 

 

Bruno Fernandes scored a penalty in extra time as Manchester United scraped past FC Copenhagen 1-0 on Monday in the quarter-finals of the Europa League, reshaped into an eight-team straight knockout tournament in Germany due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Portugal international notched his competition-best seventh goal of the season as United set up a semi-final clash against Sevilla or Wolves, joining Inter Milan in the last four following the Italian side’s 2-1 victory over Bayer Leverkusen in Dusseldorf.

“Third time this season we’ve been to the semis, every competition we’ve been in. Delighted we’ve gone through, we deserved to win tonight,” United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer told BT Sport.

“Their keeper was fantastic, unbelievable. We hit the post a few times, there were a couple of VAR decisions against us. It could have been one of those nights that you end up with penalty shoot outs. They made it hard for us.”

All games from the quarter-finals onwards in this season’s Europa League are being played behind closed doors as one-off ties across four venues — Cologne, Duisburg, Dusseldorf and Gelsenkirchen — in a unique format following a five-month interruption.

Solskjaer recalled Fernandes, Paul Pogba, Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood and Anthony Martial but the 2017 competition winners struggled early, and 18-year-old Copenhagen forward Mohamed Daramy was twice involved as the Danish underdogs threatened a creaking United backline.

Eric Bailly intervened just as Daramy attempted to stab home a bouncing cross, and the Ivorian defender was then played into trouble by Fred with Jens Stage’s subsequent effort blocked.

Rashford finally tested Karl-Johan Johnsson just before the interval with a long-range shot — the first of a multitude of saves for Copenhagen’s outstanding Swedish goalkeeper.

Greenwood looked to have put United ahead as he drilled in via the far post moments later only for the teenager to be ruled offside following a VAR review.

He again went close early in the second half when he slammed against the upright, with Fernandes promptly smacking the opposite post with a dipping 20-yard drive.

The Portugal international, who scored five times in the group stage with Sporting, stung the palms of Johnsson with another hit from distance — shortly after Aaron Wan-Bissaka made a desperation block to thwart Bryan Oviedo after a mesmerising dribble from Rasmus Falk.

– Johnsson outstanding in goal –

Appearing in their first European quarter-final, and the first Danish club to reach this stage since 1997, Copenhagen continued to frustrate United as they sought a repeat of their 1-0 win when the clubs last met in the Champions League group stage in 2006.

Martial nearly won the game in normal time but again a sprawling Johnsson tipped away his curling attempt that appeared destined for the top corner.

The France striker was once more repelled by Johnsson at the start of extra time, but Martial won a penalty as United kept the attack alive and the striker was upended by Andreas Bjelland.

Fernandes blasted home from the spot on 95 minutes but Solskjaer’s team were left to sweat until the end as Johnsson pulled off sensational stops from the Portuguese and substitute Juan Mata, with Victor Lindelof the third United player to strike the post.

United though ultimately ensured their 2019-20 campaign will extend into a second year, having started the season 365 days ago with a 4-0 Premier League win over Chelsea. Awaiting them on Sunday will be Sevilla — who have won the Europa League and its precursor, the UEFA Cup, a record five times — or domestic rivals Wolves.

Former United striker Romelu Lukaku grabbed the decisive goal for Antonio Conte’s Inter against Leverkusen as the Serie A runners-up moved a step closer to adding to their titles from 1991, 1994 and 1998.

Inter struck first as Nicolo Barella guided in from the edge of the area on 15 minutes, with Lukaku bundling in a second six minutes later.

Kai Havertz reduced the deficit in possibly his final game for Leverkusen on 25 minutes after exchanging passes with fellow Germany international Kevin Volland, but Inter held on to seal their place against Shakhtar Donetsk or Basel in next week’s semi-final.

“The defence did a tremendous job again tonight. We are growing but we have to learn to kill games off when we have the chances to do it, and we didn’t tonight,” said Lukaku.

“Now we have time to recover physically and prepare for another great game. We will have to be ready.”

AFP