United's Fernandes labels Saints 'tough' but identifies defensive problem

Manchester United's Bruno Fernandes (Pic: PA)
Manchester United's Bruno Fernandes (Pic: PA)

MANCHESTER United goalscorer Bruno Fernandes was full of praise and insisted it is “really tough” to play against Saints, after his match-winner on Saturday.

The Portuguese international netted the only goal of the game at St Mary’s, during a fast start to the second-half from the Red Devils.

Fernandes, 27, got on the scoresheet for the first time under new boss Erik ten Hag with a first-time finish from the edge of the area to separate the sides.

It leaves Saints with just one win and two defeats from their opening four Premier League fixtures, while United have won back-to-back matches to go ahead of Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side.

“It is really tough to play here against them (Saints),” Fernandes told the club website. “They play with loads of intensity, lots of quality, lots of bodies up front.

Daily Echo: Fernandes wheels away after scoring (Pic: Stuart Martin)
Daily Echo: Fernandes wheels away after scoring (Pic: Stuart Martin)

Fernandes wheels away after scoring (Pic: Stuart Martin)

“They created many problems but we did a great game with good sacrifice and spirit, a big win for us.

“In the first-half we had some control, we create more chances than them but they did have their chances. In the second-half, the first 15 minutes we came out really intense.”

Fernandes featured last season as United dropped four points to Saints, who went on to finish 15th in the division, with 1-1 draws at both St Mary’s and Old Trafford.

However, having narrowly got the better of Saints this time around, Fernandes pinpointed some elements of the tactical battle.

“After we scored we dropped a little bit and gave them too much space to build from the back. Even when we score, we should be more proactive and try to play a little bit more,” he admitted.

“They put loads of bodies up front and its difficult when you recover the ball lower up the pitch, they react and are strong when they lose the ball.

“But if you can get that pass through you can be three against two as they leave the centre-backs on their own.”

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