Southampton 0-1 Manchester United: Fernandes gives Ten Hag's men back-to-back wins


Bruno Fernandes was on the scoresheet as Manchester United continued their revival with a narrow win at Southampton.
FotMob - 7 months ago

Bruno Fernandes guided Manchester United to a 1-0 victory over Southampton at St Mary's as they claimed back-to-back wins for the first time in the Erik ten Hag era to build on Monday's victory over Liverpool.

Fernandes, retaining the captain's armband as both Harry Maguire and Cristiano Ronaldo started on the bench, produced a classy 55th-minute finish to hand United the win.

Joe Aribo went closest to a leveller for Southampton with a close-range header, but United produced one of their most composed defensive performances of recent months to secure a first away league win in eight attempts.

After making a dire start to the new campaign, United have now strung together consecutive league wins for the first time since February, giving lift-off to Ten Hag's tenure.

As part of an even first half on Saturday, United were denied an opener in stunning fashion when Gavin Bazunu, Kyle Walker-Peters and Armel Bella-Kotchap all made astonishing last-ditch blocks, as Anthony Elanga, Fernandes and Christian Eriksen all failed to convert from inside the six-yard box.

Bella-Kotchap should have done better when volleying over on the stretch at the other end near the half-hour mark, before the lively Che Adams hit a weak effort straight at David de Gea after running in behind. 

Bazunu turned away a right-footed volley from Scott McTominay four minutes after the break, but he was unable to prevent the Saints from falling behind soon after, as Fernandes side-footed Diogo Dalot's bouncing cross into the bottom-left corner. 

United were indebted to De Gea for maintaining their advantage, with the Spaniard producing a fine reflex save from Aribo's powerful header before Ronaldo was introduced.

Casemiro then made his United debut from the bench as the Red Devils clung on for a valuable win despite Sekou Mara twice going close to a last-gasp leveller.

What does it mean? United build on breakthrough win

United could hardly have asked for a worse start to the campaign, being comprehensively outplayed in defeats to Brighton and Hove Albion and Brentford, but they followed up a scintillating counter-attacking display against Liverpool with a more controlled performance here.

They have now recorded consecutive league wins for the first time since overcoming Brighton and Leeds United back in February.

Fernandes steps up with Ronaldo on bench

With Maguire and Ronaldo on the bench, Fernandes was handed a dual responsibility as United's stand-in skipper and attacking focal point.

If the Red Devils lose Ronaldo before the end of the transfer window, Fernandes' importance will be heightened still; Ronaldo has scored nine Premier League goals for United since the start of March.

Fernandes and Jadon Sancho are their only other players to score more than one league goal in that time (both two).

United stop the rot at favourite venue

As it turns out, all United needed to end their dire seven-match losing run on the road was a trip to their favourite venue.

The Red Devils are now unbeaten in their last 12 league visits to St Mary's, last losing there in August 2003. That defeat remains the only one United have suffered in 15 league trips to the ground (nine wins, five draws).

Key Opta Stats:

- United had won just two of their previous 11 Premier League games before this contest, a run that featured seven defeats. 
- Their last away win had been a 4-2 triumph over Leeds at Elland Road in February.
- Southampton have kept just one clean sheet in their last 16 league matches, shipping 38 goals in that time.
- Ralph Hasenhuttl has never beaten United in the Premier League with Southampton (P8 D4 L4). They are one of only two sides he has faced in the competition without winning, along with Cardiff City.
- Mohammed Salisu became the ninth Ghanaian to make 50 Premier League appearances and second to reach that tally this season, after Thomas Partey. 

What's next?

United go to Leicester City for their next Premier League match on Thursday, while Southampton are back at St Mary's to host Chelsea on Tuesday.