Man Utd: Are they over-reliant on Bruno Fernandes?
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Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has admitted Bruno Fernandes could beat his own goal record this season. The Red Devils are due to lock horns with Liverpool later today. And the Portugal international is expected to start the showdown at Old Trafford.
Fernandes has scored 26 goals for United across all competitions this season.
He reached that number with a fine brace against Roma on Thursday night, boosting his side’s chances of Europa League glory in the process.
Fernandes said after that game he was looking to beat his personal best tally of 32 goals in a season, achieved during his time with Sporting Lisbon.
And Solskjaer, speaking before the match against Liverpool, has backed his star man to catch that record.
“I wouldn’t put it past him!” he said.
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“I’m sure Bruno will say this too, but it’s not about individual accolades or awards or prizes, it’s about the team getting to a final and being successful together.
“That’s how we build this team and this club: by being a team.”
Solskjaer insists Liverpool will always be a special fixture in United’s season, despite Jurgen Klopp’s side struggling this term.
“Yes, definitely. Of course it is,” he said.
“With the rivalry and what they’ve done the last few seasons, you look at it as one of the biggest challenges of the season because we know they’re a top team and they’ve got quality, and we’ve got to play a good game to get the three points we want.”
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Reflecting on the Roma win, Solskjaer insisted United were proud of scoring six in a major European semi-final.
“Of course we are,” he said.
“We played a very, very good second half. I was thinking back to a quarter-final when Bayern Munich battered Barcelona eight-something [in 2020].
“I’ll need to look back, but for us coming into half-time 2-1 down was a difficult position to be in at home.
“You’ve conceded two and you know they are buoyant and confident. We’d started well, played good football and scored a fantastic goal and then we found ourselves 2-1 down. But the response and experience in the players showed.”
He then added: “I don’t think you can take anything for granted in any game.
“We have to wait until Sunday morning to see how the players are.
“Thursday night was an intense game and we need to see who is really fresh and fit to play against Liverpool because you definitely don’t take anything for granted in the knockout phase, even when you’re four goals up in a semi-final.
“The performance was excellent but you can see they had two chances and scored two goals.
“If they get too many chances in Rome, we can’t put ourselves in that position. We’ll pick a strong team for that one and on Sunday morning we’ll have to decide on the Liverpool team because it was a hard game.”
United finished way behind Liverpool in the table last term.
But Solskjaer feels his side have improved considerably and are getting closer and closer to becoming title challengers.
“We’ve improved definitely,” he said.
“We’re winning tight games – we’ve won them more than last year and every game in the Premier League is tight.
“Say there are five even games and you just tip them and you get the momentum and win four of them and draw one instead of losing four of them and drawing one of them, they’re tight moments.
“We’ve said it all through the season – you have to earn the points every game. It’s a big, big difference between a team in momentum and swimming against the tide.”
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