Bruno Fernandes strikes late to beat Fulham and ease pressure on Erik ten Hag

Captain fires injury-time winner as Manchester United grind out narrow win

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Match-winner Bruno Fernandes admitted Manchester United's 1-0 win at Fulham came as a much-needed confidence boost as his late strike settled a tight game at Craven Cottage on Saturday.

United looked set to drop points for the sixth time in 11 Premier League games after another insipid performance in West London.

But Fernandes' guided effort from the edge of the box had too much power for Bernd Leno and found the corner in the 91st minute to ease the pressure on his manager Erik ten Hag.

The 1-0 victory lifts United up to sixth and within five points of the top four. They face another crucial game, away to Copenhagen, in the Champions League in midweek.

"Everyone knows the situation is not the best, we lost the last two games and it wasn't the performances we wanted to give or the results but today it was a different game," said Fernandes.

"We had to give something different and we delivered. We got the three points and that's the most important thing.

"It's about the team what everyone does on the pitch. Everyone has to sacrifice, run, work harder. Even on the goal, you could see everyone working hard to get the ball and that's what makes the goal.

"It was a good performance. We could create more chances but we still had good chances. First half, we had control of the game, second half was amore divided game but I think the biggest chances were always on our side and I think we deserved the win.

"It has to build confidence but we have to understand that we can still do more. Understand now that it is about getting results every time we play.

"Champions League is important for us to get three points. Difficult game away this week but we are Man Utd and we have to win every game."

The visitors had the ball in the net after just seven minutes. Scott McTominay has been a good source of goals for Ten Hag as the club's forwards continue to struggle.

The Scotland midfielder turned in Alejandro Garnacho's cross, but a marginally offside Harry Maguire had tried to play the ball before it reached Garnacho and the strike was ruled out after a lengthy VAR review.

After that flashpoint, United's struggles in attacking areas went on. Winger Antony was hooked after another anonymous performance and striker Rasmus Hojlund's wait for a first Premier League goal goes on.

Luckily for them, Fulham have also struggled for goals since the departure of Aleksandar Mitrovic to Al Hilal.

The Cottagers have scored just nine times in 11 games and were left to rue missed chances in a strong spell early in the second-half.

Andre Onana was forced into action by Harry Wilson and Joao Palhinha, while Willian dragged another good opening wide of the target.

United looked destined for their first draw since April until Fulham imploded in stoppage time.

Palhinha twice failed to clear and the ball eventually spilled to his Portuguese international teammate.

Fernandes has been one of the targets for criticism in a calamitous start to the season for United, but he steered home a vital winner. The will hope it proves a turning point.

Updated: November 04, 2023, 3:44 PM