Fernandes scores late winner as United narrowly beat Fulham

Manchester United relieved some of the pressure that they have recently been under as captain Bruno Fernandes struck in the 90th minute for a 1-0 victory at Fulham in the early Premier League game on Saturday.

The game was petering out into a lacklustre stalemate when Fernandes latched on to a loose ball on the edge of the area and drilled a low skidding shot inside the post.

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Successive 3-0 home defeats in what has been United's worst start to a season since 1962 had piled pressure on manager Erik ten Hag and victory at Craven Cottage will release that somewhat.

But while the victory was most welcome, questions still remain about where United are heading under the Dutchman after another rather shapeless display.

Bruno Fernandes scored a late winner to relieve some of the pressure that Manchester United have been under after a string of poor performances in recent weeks.
ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images

A third successive narrow away win in the league lifted United to sixth with 18 points for 11 games ahead of the rest of the weekend's fixtures.

Fulham, who were twice denied by great saves by André Onana in the second half and will count themselves unlucky, are down in 14th with 12 points.

Fernandes has come under fire in recent weeks with former Manchester United title winners Gary Neville and Roy Keane both suggesting he should have the armband taken away after some petulant performances.

But he answered with a crucial goal when his team needed it most, punishing Fulham's inability to clear their area with a deft control and turn before sending his shot beyond Bernd Leno.

"Everyone knows the situation is not the best, we lost the last two games and it wasn't the performances we wanted to give or the results but today it was a different game," the Portugal international said.

"We had to give something different and we delivered. It has to build confidence but we have to understand that we can still do more and that it's about getting results every time we play."

Fulham have now lost their lost four games against United, including three times last season.

"Really difficult for us to take, it's the same old story," manager Marco Silva said.

"We were the better team overall. But we lost emotional control and made three mistakes in 10 seconds and were punished."

The only talking point of a mundane first half was Scott McTominay's disallowed goal for United after seven minutes.

Christian Eriksen's flighted free kick was turned across the area by Alejandro Garnacho and McTominay arrived to dispatch the ball high into the net.

But United's celebrations were cut short, eventually, after a drawn-out VAR check with referee John Brooks going to the monitor to rule it out on the basis that Harry Maguire, who was initially offside, had been interfering with play.

That was about the sum total of United's attacking threat with a tame Fernandes effort easily saved by Bernd Leno.

Willian was Fulham's brightest spark with an early shot blocked and some dangerous balls into the area while visiting keeper Onana made one save from Harry Wilson.

It was not a lot better in the early stages of the second half but things suddenly livened up with Onana forced into superb saves in the space of a frantic minute.

First he palmed away a fierce swerving effort by Wilson and then reacted well to keep out João Palhinha's effort. Rodrigo Muniz then headed a chance over as United's defence creaked.

A 0-0 draw would have done little to lift the United gloom but Fernandes at least gave the visiting fans something to cheer with his well-timed intervention.