'Every game is a final' for Manchester United after fighting win over Everton

Fernandes and Rashford score in 2-0 victory at Old Trafford

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Penalties from Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford gave Manchester United a much-needed 2-0 win over Everton on Saturday. It was their first Premier League victory in three games and one that raised their top-four hopes.

Erik ten Hag's team remain sixth but with 47 points they crept closer to fourth-placed Aston Villa on 55 with a game in hand. Fifth-placed Tottenham, who host Villa on Sunday, have 50 points and two games in hand.

Both penalties came courtesy of clumsy tackles in the box on Alejandro Garnacho and both were against the run of play, with Everton the dominant team for long stretches against a disjointed United midfield.

"We have to win every single game," Garnacho told TNT Sports. "The manager wants me to go one V one, to shoot, to dribble. I won two penalties. It's important.

"It's like a dream with my age. A full Old Trafford stadium chanting my name is incredible. I am very proud and happy," he said.

Garnacho also talked up Manchester United's Champions League prospects.

"Yes, I think it is very important to win the game, the three points. We lost the last two games so it was important to be there and we want to be in the Champions League next season so very happy.

"Yeah now every game the manager said is a final. We have to win every game, we're Manchester United and the job is done (today)."

Garnacho also played down Rashford taking the second spot-kick. He added: "Bruno is the captain. He is always on pens. If Bruno is not playing, Rashy is the second one so we give to him. It's not a problem. We are a family so no worries."

United will be hoping the Premier League has five places - rather than the current four - in next season’s expanded Champions League format. An extra berth will be determined by English clubs’ overall performance in European competition this season.

Sean Dyche's Everton are winless in 11 straight league games, slipping to 16th on 25 points, five points above the drop zone.

Everton had more shots than United (23 to 15) but many were from long range and few seriously troubled goalkeeper Andre Onana.

Dyche's team are now winless going back to December 16. Their situation could soon get worse if the Premier League decides to hand the club another sanction for breaching the competition's financial rules. Everton have already been docked six points this season for overspending.

Meanwhile, Wolves' bid for European football was boosted by a 2-1 victory over Fulham, but it came at the expense of more injury problems.

Jean-Ricner Bellegarde limped off with just over 10 minutes gone while Pedro Neto, who had a hamstring issue last weekend, pulled up just before half-time clutching the back of his left thigh.

But the hosts made Fulham pay for missed opportunities, with Rayan Ait-Nouri scoring his first goal since December 2022 in the 52nd minute and Nelson Semedo adding a deflected second before Alex Iwobi grabbed a very late consolation.

Also, Bournemouth denied Sheffield United their second Premier League victory of the year when they fought back from two goals down to secure a 2-2 draw at the Vitality Stadium.

United looked set to earn three points at 2-1 when the clock struck 90 minutes but Bournemouth's Enes Unal equalised to add more pressure to the visitors' survival hopes.

Updated: March 09, 2024, 5:43 PM