In what was billed as a pivotal midweek round of action in the English Premier League, Portuguese players dominated the proceedings as Bernardo Silva, Rúben Neves and Diogo Jota scored crucial goals for their clubs to dictate the storylines.

Bernardo Silva was at the heart of the action with the decisive breakthrough goal to help title-chasers Manchester City to a 2-0 victory over Manchester United in the local derby at Old Trafford. Elsewhere, Neves and Jota both got their names on the scoresheet for Wolverhampton Wanderers as Nuno Espírito Santo’s side secured an impressive 3-1 win against Arsenal.

For English champions Manchester City there was a huge step towards retaining their title with a 2-0 away win over city rivals Manchester United. Second half goals from Bernardo and substitute Leroy Sane gave City the three points that see them move one point ahead of Liverpool at the top of the table with just three matches left to play.

Bernardo’s opener came at an ideal moment for City, just eight minutes after the re-start following an even first half. The Portugal midfielder found himself attacking the home side’s defence through the right-hand channel and Bernardo demonstrated fantastic footwork to shift the ball onto his favoured left foot and get a shot off in a swift movement that was too good for United full-back Luke Shaw and goalkeeper David De Gea.

Leroy Sane added a second for City to the delight of coach Pep Guardiola, who admitted that Bernardo’s goal had been a decisive point in the match. “At half-time I told the players they had to play to win – it doesn’t matter if they lose trying to win but we needed to try to win this game. After that run by Bernardo we showed that we wanted to do it,” he said during his post-match interview.

Nuno praises players as Neves, Jota shine

The result for United – for whom Diogo Dalot did not feature – was a setback in their chase for a top four position in the Premier League. However, the race for Champions League qualification took another turn as Nuno Espírito Santo’s Wolverhampton Wanderers scored three first half goals to blitz 5th placed Arsenal 3-1 at Molineux.

Portuguese duo Rúben Neves and Diogo Jota were among the goalscorers for Wolves, who secured their first victory since losing the FA Cup semi-final to Watford at Wembley earlier this month. Nuno selected Rui Patrício, João Moutinho, Neves and Jota for his starting line-up, while Ivan Cavaleiro was introduced as a late substitute.

Neves opened the scoring with a trademark free-kick on 28 minutes, beating arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno with a well-placed shot inside the left-hand post. Wolves doubled their lead through Matty Doherty’s header on 38 minutes, before Jota made it three with a solo run and finish that evaded Leno.

For Jota it was an 8th goal of the Premier League season, having scored his first in the English top flight in December against Chelsea. The goal against The Blues ahead of the festive period was also Jota’s first of the season in all competitions and sparked the start of a run in which the Portuguese has nine goals and six assists from his last twenty appearances for Wolves.

The win over Arsenal moved Nuno’s men back into 7th place in the table and the nature of the performance delighted the Portuguese boss. “I’m very proud of the way we work, the way the players engage themselves and commit themselves to an idea because we give everything that we have each game, it’s a commitment to try to do everything you can to perform well,” Nuno said. “That’s what makes me proud, the belief of us in ourselves.”

“At the beginning of the game it was difficult to recover the ball, Arsenal have quality players, created some problems and we were able to break and the first moment we broke we were lucky enough to have this moment of talent and quality of Rúben.

“From there on I think we controlled the game better, it put us on the front foot, so well-played and it’s fantastic from the players, credit to them, they made a fantastic performance.”

Asked about Neves, who scored his 5th goal of what has been an impressive season for the 22-year-old, Nuno said: “He has quality and talent. He practises and there’s a lot of repetition in the movement of the ball. It really helped us to break the game. It put us in a good momentum.”

By Sean Gillen

Comments (11)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

NES has Wolves in 7th spot and they are giant killers. Marco Silva has finally stabilized Everton and has them playing good football in 9th. Bodes well for two coaches that exemplify the true Portuguese spirit.

I don't think the Nuno Santos,...

NES has Wolves in 7th spot and they are giant killers. Marco Silva has finally stabilized Everton and has them playing good football in 9th. Bodes well for two coaches that exemplify the true Portuguese spirit.

I don't think the Nuno Santos, Marco Silvas, Paulo Sousas and Leo Jardims of the world are given enough press compared to the loud mouth, excuse ridden Mou.

Conceicao is just to rash with a foul mouth and prison manners to make it very far internationally.

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Can these talented players keep the Euro cup? Finally win a World Cup?

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@Jerrold and anybody else
When you look at these top teams in Europe they all play similarly now. They all press high and they want to foul you as soon as you go to counter attack. If you watch closely, the majority of these teams have similar...

@Jerrold and anybody else
When you look at these top teams in Europe they all play similarly now. They all press high and they want to foul you as soon as you go to counter attack. If you watch closely, the majority of these teams have similar players in similar roles. You could interchange and swap the majority of players from Man city, Liverpool, Barcelona, Real, PSG, Bayern, Chelsea etc. and you’d never tell the difference. Where I’m going with this is as far Bernardo Silva, he could start and be a star on any team or country...so here’s the deal. In my opinion and as others have mentioned time and time again, we have the players we just don’t have the system and the mentality. Look at Wolverhampton, there’s like 4-5 players on that team with the exception of Rui P who are borderline fringe players for Portugal. They went from the second division to 7th in the most competitive league in the world. Why? How? NES gets the most of those guys, he understands the need to be aggressive and press, he sees what Pep, Klopp, and Sarri see. There’s no reason whatsoever why Santosdoesnt see that times are changing. If you look at Juventus, they lost to Ajax...why? Ajax plays aggressively they took it to Juventus, Juventus plays like Portugal I’m the euros and currently as well. Im just ranting at this point and I’m probably going through withdrawal from the national team. The bottom line is it’s Santos and his inability to implement what these top club coaches do. He can’t motivate anybody, he’s not a players coach, he’s an old Portuguese stubborn man stuck in the 90’s.

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Thats a great point. I hope it's something we can remedy before the tournaments begin.

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

He did just win euros less than 3 years ago and has now taken them to the last four in League of Nations. I agree with your comments in terms of concerns about adapting to new styles of play, but also think he’s earned a little leeway. Hard to...

He did just win euros less than 3 years ago and has now taken them to the last four in League of Nations. I agree with your comments in terms of concerns about adapting to new styles of play, but also think he’s earned a little leeway. Hard to get rid of someone with such positive results (especially considering Portugal’s lack of previous titles). Will be interesting to see what happens moving forward.

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Right around when Paulo Bento got sacked, I wanted Santos. I'm compared him and his appointment to Luis Aragones for Spain. Santos like Aragones was stubborn, but also like Aragones he had an eye for talent, knew his country's football better...

Right around when Paulo Bento got sacked, I wanted Santos. I'm compared him and his appointment to Luis Aragones for Spain. Santos like Aragones was stubborn, but also like Aragones he had an eye for talent, knew his country's football better than most, and wasn't going to let outside forces (agents, federations) derail his operation. But much like the dominant Spain, it is time to recognize this talented generation and let a more nuanced coach maybe step in.I would like Santos to step down after the next year (Euro), regardless of results and will still hold him in the highest esteem. I think Jardim would be perfect. The amount of Portuguese talent this man has personal handled at Monaco already gives him a great starting point, but also the talent this man has seen. He may only be the coach of Monaco, but if you list the players he's coached and where they are now he's know how to get the most out of players.

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I really wish this website stopped posting articles about Bernardo Silva.
Massively overrated player who thrives simply because he plays with Kevin de Bruyne and is managed by Guardiola.

Every time Portugal needs him, he disappears.
Really wish...

I really wish this website stopped posting articles about Bernardo Silva.
Massively overrated player who thrives simply because he plays with Kevin de Bruyne and is managed by Guardiola.

Every time Portugal needs him, he disappears.
Really wish this website posted more articles on players who actually deserve praise, such as William Carvalho at Real Betis.

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You actually get on my nerves.

What the hell has William done at real betis?
Just because he was a former sporting player doesn’t mean he’s amazing, he was never that good and still is average at best. You are the most biased person I have ever...

You actually get on my nerves.

What the hell has William done at real betis?
Just because he was a former sporting player doesn’t mean he’s amazing, he was never that good and still is average at best. You are the most biased person I have ever seen.

I hope your post was honestly a joke because Bernardo is pure class.

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--Z--, your writing is improving. You have cut down on the amount of tense shifts and run-on sentences. Nice job.
Yet your jokes are still being misconstrued. So you still have a ways to go.

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@Jessica how has Jessica not realised this dude is a troll is beyond me

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William plays very well for Real Betis.
I watch their games on a regular basis.

More importantly, what has Bernardo Silva done for Portugal? Nothing. Compare that to William who anchored Portugal to a European championship (2016).

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