Bruno Fernandes earns pundits praise for outstanding volley but Paul Scholes still finds fault in Man Utd win

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Bruno Fernandes (L) of Manchester United celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the Premier League match at St Mary's Stadium Credit: PA Images
Bruno Fernandes (L) of Manchester United celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the Premier League match at St Mary's Stadium Credit: PA Images

Manchester United were indebted to a brilliant strike from Bruno Fernandes as Erik ten Hag picked up a second win in five days as they recorded a 1-0 win against Southampton at St Mary’s.

Captain-for-the-day Fernandes struck the decisive goal in the 55th-minute to earn United all three points. Indeed, with Lisandro Martinez named Man of the Match, United were forced to show grit and determination to see out the win.

To that end, Saints had big chances of their own with Che Adams going close and a penalty appeal waved away after an apparent Scott McTominay handball.

There was also a chance in the closing stages Sékou Mara’s bicycle kick almost forcing an equaliser.

However, United held out for the win and in the process, claimed a first clean sheetaway from home since December. The win also lifts them up to sixth ahead of the rest of the weekend’s games.

Assessing the performance, pundit Rio Ferdinand was hugely impressed with their grit and desire.

“They needed both [a good performance and a good result],” he told BT Sport. “The performance was a good signal of where they are heading. To come away to Southampton, at midday, under the sun, with all the pressure that is on… there’s a long way to go but you know what, that was a dogged performance.”

Fernandes’ goal also earned plenty of plaudits for the masterful way he caressed the ball into the corner on the volley.

Scholes, Ferdinand purr over Bruno Fernandes goal

Paul Scholes commented: “It was a great goal. The cross from Dalot was excellent, people try and smash that, but he’s sidefooted on target. Not just that, but that’s an outstanding finish.”

Scholes claims that despite the goal, Fernandes’ performance wasn’t the best.

Pointing out the possession he gave away, he then backtracked slightly, adding: “He played his position well, without being brilliant. Not his best performance, he won’t be overall pleased with how he played but he’ll be delighted with the goal and finish.”

Ferdinand also outlined the way Marcus Rashford’s unselfish role in the goal.

“Marcus Rashford deserves credit for his run to make the space. That finish, the technique was excellent.”

Samuel Luckhurst, the Manchester Evening News‘ chief football reporter, wrote: ‘Fernandes opens the scoring with a brilliant strike. That was an outstanding volley from the edge of the box.

‘That was such a well-taken goal from Fernandes. It was not an easy finish and he placed it into the bottom left corner with relative ease. He had been poor today up until that goal.’

Fernandes enjoys volley and win at Southampton

Fernandes himself was extremely happy to claim the win, claiming the result was an all-round team effort.

“We knew it would be hard to come here. It’s always a tough experience here. This is the Premier League,” he told BT Sport. “It’s a massive three points here for us. It was massive for us to come here and win a second game. This is what it is like to play for this club. We won, we’re really happy.

“We have to carry on now!”

Asked about his strike, he added: “It was a great ball, great play from [Diogo] Dalot. When he dropped the ball, everything was perfect. This is why we work, I managed to find the space to finish. Well done to him and everyone.”

United, meanwhile, continue to press to secure the signing of Antony, with Ajax setting a huge new price for the Brazilian.

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