SOUTHAMPTON, England (AP) — Manchester United stand-in captain Bruno Fernandes made it back-to-back wins for Erik ten Hag’s side by scoring the only goal in a 1-0 win over Southampton in the Premier League on Saturday.
United followed up Monday’s win over Liverpool with a morale-boosting performance, with Fernandes wearing the captain’s armband in the 55th minute to head home a cross from Diego Dalut.
With two straight losses at the start of the season – including a 4-0 thrashing at Brentford – United have now won back-to-back league games for the first time since February.
It was also the team’s first clean sheet of the season, thanks to David De Gea’s reflex save to keep out a header from Joe Arebo in the 66th.
It’s a result that will give some more breathing space to Dutch manager Ten Hague, who has faced criticism and doubt after his team’s disappointing start to the campaign.
Ten Hague’s decision to leave Maguire and star Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench has been reaffirmed, with centre-back pair Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane looking solid in defence.
United struggled to create quality chances in the first half, although Ten Hague shook his head in disbelief that his side had not gone ahead in the 20th minute when they went close seconds later. Three shots on target. .
Anthony Elanga’s effort from a tight angle was saved by goalkeeper Gavin Bazno before Fernandes and Christian Eriksen both had their follow-up shots blocked by diving defenders.
Southampton had the best chance of the first half on the half-hour mark when a corner fell to Armel Bella’s ketchup at the back post, but he headed it over the crossbar.
United started the second half strongly and got the goal after a well-worked move down the right. Dalut lifted a cross into the area and Fernandes was on hand to head it inside the far post.
Ronaldo and new United signing Casemiro – the Portugal star’s former teammate at Real Madrid – both came on in the second half.
Substitute Siko Mara had two chances to equalize for Southampton in injury time, but his brilliant overhead kick was blocked by Dalut and he headed another effort wide of the post a minute later. took