Saturday, October 16, 2021

Fernandes accepts Man Utd must improve for silverware to be realistic

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 2 Oct 2021

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Bruno Fernandes vented his frustration at Manchester United’s form after their draw with Everton, acknowledging silverware will be a pipe dream unless they improve.

Fernandes became the joint-fourth quickest player to reach the 50 goals involvements landmark in the Premier League as he teed up Anthony Martial for United’s opener on Saturday.

But Everton were good value for their second-half equaliser, as Demarai Gray twice shrugged off Fred before feeding Abdoulaye Doucoure, who then teed up Andros Townsend for a straightforward finish.

United have now won just two of their past seven home league games, while their run of nine successive top-flight matches at Old Trafford without a clean sheet is the second-worst in the club’s history (10, 1970-71).

Everton created better quality chances as well, with Rafael Benitez’s men recording 1.22 expected goals (xG) to United’s 0.88, which suggests the hosts were perhaps slightly lucky to even score once.

Understandably, Fernandes was frustrated.

“We should win this game,” the Portugal international told BBC Sport.

“We should create more chances, we should not concede that kind of goal. It’s not the first time and we have to look at our mistakes and see what we can do.”

Victory for United would have taken them top, even if just temporarily. Despite such fine margins, Fernandes is concerned about their form, having also lost to Aston Villa last time out in the Premier League.

In his opinion, their silverware chances will be in doubt if they do not improve.

“We don’t look at the league table at this moment but of course we should have more points,” he continued.

“We drop points at home and we should not do that. These last two games at home were not good enough in the Premier League.

“If we want silverware at the end of the season, we have to do much better.”

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has come under pressure in recent weeks, with some once again suggesting he is not the right man to turn the Red Devils into title contenders.

And his comments may increase the cause for concern among some fans, with the Norwegian suggesting United did not afford Everton many chances despite the Toffees managing 10 shots inside the box – the hosts managed nine.

“We didn’t concede many chances today but we conceded a goal, so sometimes you have to deal with one or two moments and we didn’t,” he told BT Sport. “In that break we got outmuscled, we should’ve cleared it.

“We gave them a few counterattacks. I don’t know the stats but I know we had the ball most of the time. They didn’t play through us at all really. How not to be counterattacked is the key lesson here.

“Every game in the Premier League, you can work on a system, on defending, but that [counter] has to be dealt with.”

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