Man Utd: Solskjaer hails Fernandes amid form struggles
Manchester United star Bruno Fernandes has revealed four players have been helping him with free-kicks prior to his winner against Liverpool on Sunday. The Portugal international was benched for the FA Cup showdown at Old Trafford. But he came on to make his mark, propelling Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side through to the fifth round of the competition.
United fell behind against Liverpool, with Mohamed Salah’s beautiful chip over Dean Henderson putting the visitors in front.
They then turned the game on its head through two goals, scored by Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford respectively.
Liverpool levelled through Salah again in the second half, with the Egypt international lashing the ball home from close range.
But United weren’t to be denied and picked up victory through Fernandes, whose terrific curling strike sailed beyond the reach of Alisson Becker.
And, speaking to MUTV after the game, Fernandes detailed Marcus Rashford, Alex Telles, Juan Mata and Fred had been helping him perfect his technique.
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“I think almost every day,” he said when asked if he’d been practicing free-kicks prior to he contest.
“Sometimes he [Ole Gunnar Solskjaer] has to kick me out of the training to stop.
“I’m always working on that kind of situation.
“I like to watch and learn from Juan [Mata] because I think he is a really good specialist.
“I think in training we stay there most of the time – me and Juan stay longer, but also Alex [Telles], Rashy [Marcus Rashford], Fred also stays with us.”
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Fernandes insisted it wasn’t a foregone conclusion he’d get to take the free-kick, despite his obvious talents.
“No, no! I think normally a little bit more long distance is for Rashy,” he said.
“I think he feels more comfortable [from there], for me it is the same, to go the [closer] distance.
“I think closer to the box is better for me, for the kind of shot I have.
“Of course, if Juan and Alex are on the pitch it’s a chance for them, more on the right side.
“I think we have good free-kick specialists. I think we have some players who can take [good free-kicks].
“It will depend on the moment. In that moment, I felt I was confident to take the free-kick. It was me and luckily it was a goal.
“I think with this result, with a goal in the last minutes, it would be really good. I think the fans would love it.”
Speaking after the game, Solskjaer expressed his delight with both his side’s result and performance.
“For us it’s a good feeling, to play on our terms,” the manager said.
“We’ve found a way of playing that we believe in, that the players believe in.
“We are getting stronger and stronger. We’ve had some good results previously, going with a diamond or a 3-5-2 to nullify the opponents.
“But today we had positive selection, that’s the statement to ourselves, confidence boost that we can match the best with our style of football.”
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