Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer congratulates Bruno Fernandes as the Portuguese star is substituted after his two-goal starring role in a 3-0 win at Brighton on Tuesday. BRIGHTON, England－Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said Bruno Fernandes has brought a winning mentality to Manchester United after his brace inspired an impressive 3-0 win at Brighton on Tuesday.
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Cajoled by the dazzling Fernandes, United produced one of its best performances of the season at the Amex Stadium.
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Mason Greenwood opened the scoring early in the first half and Fernandes doubled the lead before the interval.
Fernandes netted again after halftime with a fine volley as United climbed above Wolves on goal difference to take fifth place in the Premier League.
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“Bruno has come and been fantastic. He has brought that winning mentality with him, that 99 percent is not good enough. It has to be 100 percent,” Solskjaer said
“I’ve got more than one game-changer. The third goal was a great team goal. To see so many players sprinting forward to get on the end of it was fantastic. A great finish by Bruno.”
Solskjaer‘s side was two points behind fourth-place Chelsea ahead of the Blues’ trip to West Ham on Wednesday
With fifth place securing qualification for the Champions League if second-place Manchester City’s European ban is upheld, United is in a strong position to return to the continent’s elite club competition
If it makes it, United will owe a huge debt of gratitude to Fernandes, who has scored six goals since arriving from Sporting Lisbon in January
The Portugal midfielder’s role in revitalizing United cannot be understated
It was mired in a major slump before Fernandes‘ signing, but is now on a 15-game unbeaten run in all competitions, including three successive wins
“It’s a joy to watch them when you see them express themselves like that,” Solskjaer said
“The confidence comes from performances. They worked hard during the lockdown and we know we have loads to play for
“I don’t care about making a statement, I know we are a good team.”
United is also looking more solid at the back with eight clean sheets in its last 13 league matches
With a run-in that includes games against Bournemouth, Aston Villa and West Ham, Solskjaer‘s men could enjoy a memorable conclusion to the campaign as it also chases success in the FA Cup and Europa League
Brighton had taken four points from two games since the restart, easing its relegation fears, but this defeat means it is not completely safe yet
Harry Maguire led United‘s charge with a long pass to Paul Pogba, who in turn fed Fernandes for a fierce drive that cannoned back off the post
The 18-year-old Greenwood produced a fine strike to open the scoring in the 16th minute. Cutting in from the right, Greenwood froze Lewis Dunk with a nimble step-over and drilled a low shot past Brighton keeper Mat Ryan
“He’s a special talent. He’s getting better. You can see clearly that he’s maturing and improving,” Solskjaer said of Greenwood
“He’s still only 18 so we will see more from him.”
Greenwood‘s 13th goal of the season in all competitions was the signal for United to take complete control
Maguire almost made it two with a header that looped narrowly wide and in the 29th minute Brighton cracked again
Luke Shaw’s run unhinged the Seagulls’ defense and Pogba worked the ball back to Fernandes, whose shot deflected off Alexis Mac Allister and squirmed past Ryan from the edge of the area
Fernandes wasn’t finished yet and he put the game out of Brighton‘s reach at the climax of a swaggering United counter in the 50th minute
Nemanja Matic’s cross-field pass sent Greenwood sprinting away down the left and the teenager unfurled a perfect cross for Fernandes to volley past Ryan from 12 yards