Bruno Fernandes maintains unrelenting form to inspire United win [video]

Bruno Fernandes is one of Portugal’s most in-form players and the midfielder was again the catalyst for Manchester United’s 4-2 victory over Sheffield United on Wednesday evening.

United twice came from behind to see off the Premier League relegation-battlers, with Fernandes supplying an assist as well as another two goals, including a stunning strike with his left foot from distance.

United qualified for a successive FA Cup final at the weekend, but the unconvincing nature of their penalty shootout victory over Coventry City at Wembley led to a wave of criticism. The Red Devils took to the field against Sheffield United with hopes of Champions League qualification long abandoned, leading to a downbeat atmosphere at the Theatre of Dreams.

Things were made worse when goalkeeper Andre Onana’s poor pass allowed Jayden Bogle to put the visitors ahead (35’) but Harry Maguire restored parity before the break. United fell behind again five minutes after the break as Ben Brereton struck from close range, with Fernandes registering the home side’s second equaliser from the penalty spot ten minutes later.

The sides remained level heading into the final ten minutes, at which point Seleção star Fernandes truly took centre stage. The former Sporting man finally gave United the lead for the first time with a fantastic left-footed shot from distance (81’) before then supplying a superb assist for Rasmus Hojlund to make the game safe five minutes from time.

“Really pleased, we really needed this win,” Fernandes told the club’s media. “It’s been a tough period for us in the Premier League, where we didn’t get all the points that we should and I think at times we deserved. Not in every game, but I think there were games that we deserved to get more points from. But today obviously I’m really pleased to get the result and the three points for us.”

Fernandes now has 7 goals and 2 assists from his last five matches in all competitions. As well as being United’s leading goalscorer in the Premier League, the club captain also heads his team’s assists chart, but insists goals such as his second from long range derive from teamwork which goes unnoticed.

“The best goals are the ones that hit the net,” Fernandes said. “[Whether] it’s the penalty spot or from the edge [of the box] but a player and a fan of football will enjoy more scoring from the edge because it’s more beautiful, it’s a different goal. It’s obviously a great strike but I think the team movement was great that made the spaces bigger.

“When they have the lines so deep we need a lot of movements to make the space bigger, and we had many movements. [We passed the ball] on the right side and then the ball from Kobee is at the right time, he called me – that’s something that’s really important in football – so I could turn and when I turned Rasmus makes a movement wide which attracts the midfielder, then there’s another two movements to pin their last line back from Diogo [Dalot] and Garna that gives me more space to hit the target. It’s always a team goal even when it doesn’t look like it.”

The win strengthens United’s position in 6th place, but a 13-point gap to the top four places is a stark reminder of the team’s failures this term. Fernandes and co. still have the possibility of silverware through the FA Cup final, where they meet local rivals Manchester City at Wembley next month.

By @SeanGillen9