Bruno Fernandes says every Manchester United player must “look in the mirror” and accept blame for the club’s poor run of form.
United were outclassed on home soil by one of their fiercest rivals for the second game running on Saturday as they fell to a 2-0 loss against Manchester City.
While City did not rack up the five unanswered goals managed by Liverpool at Old Trafford two weeks ago, the manner of the loss was just as chastening for the Red Devils.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side had just four touches in the opposition box – their fewest in a league game since 2008-09 when Opta first began recording such data.
Those four touches were also the fewest by a home team in a Premier League game since Fulham against Arsenal in September 2020.
A fourth defeat in six Premier League outings heaps yet more pressure on Solskjaer, who is one month short of celebrating three years in charge at Old Trafford.
Fernandes defended Solskjaer ahead of Saturday’s game but understands that supporters are growing tired of the same excuses after this latest setback.
“Obviously everyone is frustrated about the result, about the performance too,” the Portugal international said.
“We know we can do much better and we know this is not enough for players who are representing this big club. We have to look in the mirror. I’m saying again the same things probably from the last interview, but that’s it.
“We have to look at ourselves, everyone at his home, understand what we can do better to help the team. We just have to apologise to the fans and that’s it, because it was not good enough from us.
“They created a great atmosphere. They pushed us until the end, they tried to give that energy to us but from us, it was not enough.”
United have lost eight home games in all competitions in 2021 – their most in a calendar year since 1989 – and are nine points off top spot in the Premier League after 11 games.
Eric Bailly scored a calamitous own goal to give City the lead in that latest of those defeats, before Bernardo Silva profited from some poor defending and questionable goalkeeping from David de Gea to poke in a second.
Now without a clean sheet at home in 14 matches in all competitions – their worse run since in 62 years – Fernandes admits United are making it “too easy” for opponents.
“It’s always a bad time to concede a goal,” Fernandes said. “The problem is the way we concede goals. It’s too easy. As I said many, many times, if not for David, the result could be much more higher and worse for us.
“We have to protect better, David, because he is protecting us a lot and we have to help him because he cannot make every game eight, nine saves and then still concede goals.”
City had 67.4 per cent possession and managed 16 attempts to United’s five, while the 753 passes they completed was the most of any team in a league game against the Red Devils since 2003-04.
Fernandes told MUTV: “City were much better than us. They go around the pitch, they touched the ball many times, they made us run.
“It’s hard to play against them. They are good and we knew that. Obviously when they go up with the result, it’s even worse. They played much better than us and that’s it.”
The international break comes as welcome respite to those connected to United, who return to action after the international break at Watford.
“Yeah, it will be long but now it’s time for everyone to focus on the national team who goes on the national team. The ones who stay here try to work hard, recover well and be ready for the games that are coming.”
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