Fernandes double gives Manchester United fortunate draw at Bournemouth

<span><a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Bruno Fernandes;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Bruno Fernandes</a> scores Man United’s second goal from the penalty spot against Bournemouth</span><span>Photograph: Matthew Childs/Action Images/Reuters</span>

For Manchester United, is there a more damning indictment of their floundering state than the fact they have faced more shots than anyone else in the division this season? André Onana’s goal was peppered again here and they have now conceded a league-high 574 shots this season. The other teams at the top of that list? Sheffield United, Luton and Burnley, a trio mired in relegation trouble. It is so easy for sides to ruffle United and it is increasingly difficult to believe Erik ten Hag has the answers. Arguably the biggest club on the planet are a soft touch.

Bruno Fernandes scored from both of United’s shots on target to prevent a humbling defeat at Bournemouth, his second goal courtesy of a contentious penalty, awarded after a deflected Kobbie Mainoo shot pinballed off Adam Smith’s arm. Dominic Solanke and Justin Kluivert struck either side of Fernandes’s first goal and Andoni Iraola’s swarming side thought they earned a stoppage-time spot-kick, only for VAR to rescue the teenager Willy Kambwala, unfortunately for him the star of the tragicomedy of Solanke’s opener, from further ignominy.

Related: Bournemouth v Manchester United: Premier League – live

It must have been hard for Ten Hag to keep a straight face when, afterwards, he insisted United, in danger of finishing below seventh for the first time in their Premier League history, have not given up hope of qualifying for the Champions League. United trail fourth-placed Aston Villa and fifth-placed Tottenham – and fifth may prove inadequate anyway – by 10 points with six games to play.

At least there is the light relief of a FA Cup trip to Wembley against Coventry next weekend on the horizon. The numbers do not make good reading. For the fourth time in five matches, United leaked at least two goals and they have won one of their last seven league matches. “We give all we can but I’m also realistic,” said Ten Hag, who again bemoaned injuries. “When the full squad is there, I believe. We will keep fighting with the players who are available.”

If anything was symptomatic of United’s alarming, anaemic display it was the chance that fell to Kluivert towards the end of the first half. The excellent Bournemouth left-back Milos Kerkez popped up on the right to recycle a free-kick and when he sent the ball back where it came from, United were static. Kluivert wandered to the edge of the six-yard box but his effort was repelled by Onana, who was left exposed throughout.

By that point United trailed 2-1, Fernandes having volleyed in from close range after a fortuitous deflection off Illia Zabarnyi, but that scoreline flattered Ten Hag’s side. Onana went berserk when the woodwork came to United’s aid after Kerkez met Smith’s superb cross from the right. Kerkez’s downward header hit the bar and it spoke volumes that when the ball boomeranged towards him, he was quickest to it. Kambwala, Diogo Dalot, Harry Maguire and Casemiro watched as Kerkez made a mess of the rebound.

Kluivert’s goal came down United’s right flank, where Bournemouth repeatedly feasted on the space afforded to them. Kambwala pointed at an unmarked Kluivert but, with Dalot and Alejandro Garnacho in front of the ball, he was powerless to stop the Bournemouth forward rattling a shot inside Onana’s near post. “We had to repair the right side,” Ten Hag said. “Our organisation wasn’t right and we lost balls where we shouldn’t lose them. Our players are better than this.”

It was a similar story for Bournemouth’s first goal, when Solanke seized on a Kambwala slip. The defender lost his footing, tried to regain it and then stumbled once more. But the goal stemmed from an Onana kick. Rasmus Højlund chested Onana’s pass into Garnacho but his touch was clunky. Marcos Senesi toe-poked a first-time pass into Solanke and he turned Kambwala and promptly buried his 17th league goal of the season.

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United offered nothing going forward, so no wonder several of their players celebrated when the referee, Tony Harrington, gave them a chance to level, penalising Smith for handball in the box. Mainoo’s speculative shot from the edge of the box cannoned off Ryan Christie, relentless in midfield, and then Smith’s right arm. Smith did not appeal but United’s jubilant reactions – before Fernandes sent Neto the wrong way – said everything.

Bournemouth were inches from earning a penalty themselves in stoppage time but a VAR review showed Kambwala’s bodycheck on Christie was outside the box. “United, we’ve seen, no? They always find a way to come back and get goals,” Andoni Iraola, the Bournemouth head coach, said. “They don’t have to be at their best to get a result.” You can say that again.