Bruno Fernandes’ stunning strike eased Manchester United’s early-season crisis as a 1-0 win at Burnley on Saturday snapped a three-game losing streak.
The United captain produced a match-winning moment of quality when he connected sweetly on the volley from Jonny Evans’ long pass just before half-time. Victory hauls the Red Devils up to eighth in the Premier League table and eases the mounting pressure on manager Erik ten Hag.
Zeki Amdouni hit the post for Burnley and forced the under-fire Andre Onana into a fine save in the first-half, but the Clarets remain without a win on their return to the Premier League and sink to the bottom of the table.
United’s injury crisis meant that 35-year-old Evans started at centre-back for the first time in his second spell at the club. The Northern Irishman went on to play a major role at both ends as, on top of teeing up Fernandes’ stunning strike, he had a goal ruled out and helped marshall a United defence that had conceded 10 times in their last three games.
Ten Hag was rewarded for a bold team selection as Hannibal Mejbri was handed just his second Premier League start, while Scott McTominay also came into midfield at the expense of Christian Eriksen.
The visitors nearly got off to a flying start when Fernandes stung the palms of James Trafford from a narrow angle. United goalkeeper Onana took responsibility for his side’s 4-3 defeat to Bayern Munich in midweek after a howler from the Cameroonian gifted the German giants the opening goal.
Onana got a much-needed confidence boost when he flew across his goal to prevent Amdouni’s header giving Burnley the lead. Amdouni came even closer moments later when he struck the inside of the post after a flowing Burnley move cut through the United defence.
Under the tutelage of former Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany, the Clarets play a very different brand of football to the physical side that survived six seasons in the top flight under Sean Dyche between 2016 and 2022.
However, they have only one point to show for their opening five games and a soft touch at set-pieces was nearly exploited by United. Evans took advantage of some slack marking to head in Sergio Reguilon’s corner, but Burnley were handed a reprieve by Rasmus Hojlund standing in an offside position in front of Trafford.
United had been guilty of being too pedestrian in their build up until Fernandes’ bolt out of the blue eased Ten Hag’s half-time team talk. The Portuguese midfielder hit Evans’ long cross-field pass flush on the volley and arrowed the ball into the bottom corner.
Chances were scarce at both ends in the second-half. Hojlund was inches away from his Premier League goal as he just failed to reach Diogo Dalot’s cross, while Trafford denied Marcus Rashford at the death.
But the three points were all that mattered for United to lift the gloom over Old Trafford and they held out for a gritty win that could be the spark to turn their season around.
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