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Bruno Fernandes says ‘we have to do our job’ as United target Champions League

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 10 Mar 2024

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Bruno Fernandes says Manchester United need to knuckle down, rack up wins and improve in possession as they attempt to sneak into the Champions League spots.

This has been a season to forget for Erik ten Hag’s side, who put back-to-back Premier League defeats behind them by edging past relegation-threatened Everton 2-0 on Saturday lunchtime.

First half penalties from Fernandes and Marcus Rashford decided the contest at Old Trafford, with the former calling on United to ignore background noise and focus on themselves during the run-in.

Put to the Red Devils skipper that it feels like every match feels like a big game right now, he told MUTV: “It is actually.

“Obviously we know that this season is not being (as) good as we want, so we want to improve as much as we can until the end of the season.

“Improve obviously position-wise because we want to try to get as close as possible to the Champions League spots.

“We know that we don’t depend only on ourselves, but we have to do our job like we did today and win our games.”

United remain sixth after beating Everton and sit eight points behind fourth-placed Aston Villa, who host Tottenham – the team between them – on Sunday.

Fifth could yet prove enough for Champions League qualification but the Red Devils will be relying on other teams to improve England’s UEFA coefficient.

United have 10 Premier League matches remaining and now turn their attention to keeping alive their hopes of ending a season to forget with silverware.

Ten Hag’s men host Liverpool in the FA Cup quarter-finals next weekend, when a repeat of the kind of sloppiness seen against Everton, particularly in the first half, could lead to an ugly outcome.

“No one gives the ball away on purpose,” Fernandes told Stadium Astro.

“So, you miss the pass, sometimes it doesn’t go the way you want.

“Obviously, we need to get high focus in these kind of games (against Everton) because we know they have a really strong counter-press and a really strong counter-attack.

“We know that every ball that they could recover, they will try to get their space and their time to have their chances.

“But I think overall the performance was good, obviously there’s always margin to improve.

“I think keeping more on the ball, more spells with more passes, trying to play higher on the pitch in their half, keep the ball there and then still creating a lot of chances that we create today.”

United take on a Liverpool side whose FA Cup progress led next weekend’s Merseyside derby to be postponed.

That means Everton have three weeks to stew on an 11th successive winless Premier League match, with boss Sean Dyche taking his team on a European training camp next week.

“We want to remind the players of the good side of these performances while putting that demand on the next part of it,” said the Everton manager, whose side return to action at Bournemouth on March 30.

“So, what is it that changes this situation? What is it that occurs when we take responsibility? That’s where we’re trying to get to. That will certainly be part of the demand of these next three weeks.

“We’re all together, make no mistake about that. I lead it. I’ve got no problem with that.

“We’ve got to stay with the consistency of what we’re doing while adding… the only way I can describe it is the will and demand to get hurt to score a goal, where it means that much that you will score a goal.

“When you get tight then, of course, a bit of that freedom can go, but we’re the only ones who can change it.”

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