Sunday, May 26, 2024

Bruno Fernandes wants Man Utd to use ‘special’ win over Liverpool as spark

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 18 Mar 2024


Manchester United skipper Bruno Fernandes is determined to end a poor season on a high after Sunday’s jaw-dropping and “spicy” FA Cup quarter-final win against Liverpool.

With immense pressure on manager Erik ten Hag and his misfiring side, the Red Devils secured a remarkable 4-3 victory in stoppage time of extra time through substitute Amad Diallo.

His strike sparked wild celebrations and secured an FA Cup semi-final against Coventry, breathing new life into a season that had threatened to go into a tailspin.

Asked if he had ever seen scenes like that at Old Trafford before, captain Fernandes said: “I think the last year probably against Liverpool, it was the turnaround of last season and kind of the same.

“Today the game got a little bit spicy, a little more special because it’s an FA Cup game and if you lose, you’re out.

“We know the rivalry between fans, we know how United fans wanted us to win the game to give us something to celebrate because it’s not been great for us.”

The key victory Fernandes referenced came in August 2022 after Ten Hag began his United reign with defeats to Brighton and Brentford.

That season ended up with Carabao Cup glory, reaching the FA Cup final and a third-placed league finish and the Dutchman hopes Sunday can be the turning point after several false dawns as they look to chase down a Champions League finish.

“We’ve talked about turnarounds but have never done the next step,” Fernandes said. “But I think we have to understand the FA Cup is a thing and the Premier League is another one.

“In the league now, we have 10 matches to go and we don’t depend on ourselves but as we saw Tottenham losing points to Fulham, Villa losing points to West Ham.

“But our main goal is to not lose points to Brentford away. We need to put our effort into winning that game.”

Fifth could prove enough for Champions League qualification as sixth-placed United look to reel in Aston Villa and Tottenham, while the FA Cup offers a chance to top it off in glorious fashion.

Cheers were heard from suites around Old Trafford when Coventry were drawn rather than Manchester City or Chelsea but there is little chance of semi-final complacency.

“Obviously we’re playing a Championship team and not a Premier League team, but Wolves went out against them,” Fernandes said.

“We don’t want to compare ourselves with Wolves but we have to respect every team that comes here because I remember two seasons ago we went out against Middlesbrough at home.

“We have to respect them, give them the respect they deserve and give our best performance, as we did against Liverpool and with the same mentality.”

Fernandes epitomised that approach, filling in at centre-back – a role he said he used to play as a kid – and playing through a dead leg as his remarkable record of availability continued.

“It’s not proud, I just have to be grateful for my father and my mum because they made me the right way, the strong way,” the Portugal playmaker said.

“They’ve been here for the last two games and they give me that extra energy. With my kids and my wife, they always take care of me.”

Another to exemplify United’s impressive mentality was matchwinner Diallo, who has struggled for game time this term but etched his name in club folklore on Sunday.

“He got his reward because he’s doing the right things,” Fernandes said of the 21-year-old, who received a second yellow card for taking off his shirt.

“He deserves it. Unfortunately, he got sent off, but it’s part of the moment and part of being young.

“This moment has to be enjoyed and I think it’s one of the rules football has to change because you should be able to celebrate the goal, obviously with respect to other clubs, to enjoy your moment.”


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