• Sunday, May 19, 2024
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Fernandes goal rescues Man United from Sheffield scare

Bruno Fernandes

Manchester United captain Bruno Fernandes came to his side’s rescue with two goals in a 4-2 home victory over struggling Premier League side Sheffield United on Wednesday to ease the pressure on under-fire manager Erik ten Hag.

Ten Hag’s side twice trailed the Premier League’s bottom club at Old Trafford before Fernandes came to his beleaguered manager’s aid in the second half,

The Portuguese midfielder levelled from the penalty spot in the 61st minute after a foul on Harry Maguire, the scorer of United’s first equaliser.

Fernandes then smacked home a sizzling left-footed shot to edge his side in front before setting up Rasmus Højlund to finally subdue their battling opponents.

“In the end, we came back. We put ourselves in a position where it’s tough to win games. But also it shows a bit of character,” Fernandes said.

“We are scoring lots of goals. It’s just about that compactness we need to have as a team.”

It was another poor display from Ten Hag’s side although victory moved Man United into sixth place to keep them in the hunt for a European qualifying spot.

“Many positives today,” Ten Hag said. “The resilience to fight back after losing two times. But also there were negatives. We gave it away, it can’t happen, unacceptable, we have to learn from this.”

Time is nearly up for Sheffield United who have only 16 points from 34 games and could be relegated at the weekend.

Ten Hag endured stinging criticism after United stumbled into the FA Cup final with a spluttering win against second-tier Coventry on Sunday.

United blew a three-goal lead in the last 19 minutes of normal time at Wembley and then barely survived a penalty shoot-out to book a final date with Manchester City.

Criticised for the sloppy performance, Ten Hag launched a strong defence of his credentials on Tuesday, telling journalists their negative coverage of the semi-final was a “disgrace” as the former Ajax boss insisted he has been successful for the last 10 years.

But United’s new technical director Jason Wilcox has reportedly been asked by co-owner Jim Ratcliffe to conduct an audit of Ten Hag’s training methods and sometimes fractious relationships with his players.