In a dramatic finish at Craven Cottage, Manchester United managed to snatch a late victory against Fulham, providing a momentary respite for manager Erik ten Hag amid recent criticisms.
The day’s hero for United was none other than captain Bruno Fernandes, who found the back of the net at the death to clinch a 1-0 win. The goal arrived just in time to salvage what was otherwise a performance lacking in flair from Ten Hag’s team.
Earlier in the match, controversy struck when Scott McTominay’s goal was disallowed due to an offside decision against Harry Maguire, despite Maguire not touching the ball during Eriksen’s free-kick.
Despite the lack of convincing play, United’s goalkeeper, Andre Onana, stood tall, particularly past the hour mark, with a pair of crucial saves to deny both Harry Wilson and Joao Palhinha, keeping Marco Silva’s team at bay.
Eventually, it was Fernandes who delivered when it mattered. His strike from the edge of the box found its way past Bernd Leno, who was left grasping at air, as the ball settled in the bottom corner.
Player assessments for the United squad came through with varying grades:
Andre Onana (7/10): His timely saves were pivotal, and he’s showing improvement with his distribution.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka (6/10): Seemed slightly off the pace in his first game back post-injury but did make crucial contributions defensively.
Harry Maguire (7/10): Despite doubts over a potential head injury, he remained on the pitch and put in a reliable defensive performance while also looking to initiate offensive plays.
Jonny Evans (6/10): The experienced defender coped well with the limited threat posed by Fulham’s frontline.
Diogo Dalot (6/10): Recovered well from his previous poor performance, working nicely with Garnacho on the flank and making a key defensive play in the first half.
Christian Eriksen (3/10): Struggled throughout the game, frequently losing possession and lacking in pace during Fulham’s counter-attacks. His redeeming quality was his set-piece delivery.
Scott McTominay (7/10): His disallowed goal didn’t dampen his energy, as he was a persistent threat in attack and diligent on the defensive end.
Bruno Fernandes (7/10): Despite a quiet game overall, he emerged as the match-winner with his crucial late goal.
Antony (2/10): His continued lack of contribution is becoming a concern; he was ineffective both offensively and defensively. He simply does not deserve to start for United, at least until he picks up his form.
Rasmus Hojlund (5/10): With minimal service, his frustration upon being substituted was evident. He managed to do his bit in holding up the ball when possible.
Alejandro Garnacho (7/10): His performance warranted more starts, being lively and involved in the disallowed goal for McTominay.
Facundo Pellistri (7/10): Coming on for Antony, he displayed promising touches and helped lead up to the game’s only goal.
Mason Mount (5/10): His introduction to the game was marked by a misdirected pass, a gesture indicative of his time at United thus far.
Anthony Martial (6/10): In the last minutes, he nearly made an impact with a volley that just missed the target.
Raphael Varane (N/A): Was brought on late to ensure the team kept its lead.
Manager Erik ten Hag (4/10): The narrow win was secured despite his questionable midfield setup and persistent selection of Antony, which nearly cost the team offensively. Fernandes’ late goal provided a lucky escape from scrutiny.
This late win injected some much-needed enthusiasm into Manchester United’s season, though it highlighted areas that Ten Hag needs to address if the team is to consistently perform to expectations.