Bruno Fernandes’ sterling strike at Burnley ends Manchester United winless run
Bruno Fernandes’ magnificent volley, assisted by Jonny Evans, lifts Manchester United up to eighth and ends winless run at three.
Manchester United got a moment of wonder from Bruno Fernandes and a feel-good fill-in performance from Jonny Evans in a 1-0 defeat of Burnley at Turf Moor on Saturday.
The Red Devils snapped their winless run with the victory, which won’t warm too many hearts given the winless hosts’ control of the affair.
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Burnley had more than 60% of the ball and out-attempted the famed United despite entering the affair with just one point from this Premier League campaign.
But a win is a win, as they say, and Erik ten Hag’s eighth-place side can take a look at the table and see the top four as a possibility with just a couple more wins. Their nine points are three off fifth and four off fourth before everyone ahead of them plays this weekend.
Burnley remain dead last with a point and a minus-9 goal differential. That’s still just two points off 17th-place Bournemouth and three away from Wolves and Everton.
Strange things afoot at Ten Hag’s Manchester United
Is there anything more weird, more “This is Manchester United right now” than Jonny Evans being the Man of the Match against a ball-controlling Burnley in the Year 2023?
Evans was very, very good at the back with Victor Lindelof. He had a goal ruled out by Rasmus Hojlund’s offside and ended up assisting Bruno Fernandes’ splendid winner.
The 35-year-old was making his first Manchester United start in the Premier League since 2014-15, having joined the club for training purposes this summer and eventually working his way into a job.
Raphael Varane, who made his return from injury later in the game, was out as was Lisandro Martinez and Harry Maguire. The club needed someone to step up and Evans did so, firm and strong.
He passed very well on his 80-plus touch day, making nine defensive actions. Evans was seemingly always in position, and his partnership with Victor Lindelof allowed Diogo Dalot and Sergio Reguilon to get forward on the surprisingly rare occasions that United had the ball.
Ten Hag, strangely, made just one sub until the edge of stoppage time despite playing at midweek and being second-best for most of the game. And that sub, Varane for Sergio Reguilon, was required by injury.
Anthony Martial, Christian Eriksen, Facundo Pellistri, and Alejandro Garnacho just watched as United showed no real threat going forward — Marcus Rashford ran hard but looks off his game, while Hannibal Mejbri was confident but struggled to get on the ball— and Evans was the second sub for debutant Sofyan Amrabat.
Clearly, Ten Hag isn’t high on his squad right now. But he got his win and now gets a double dose of Palace to try to get things right.
Man United hosts Crystal Palace on Tuesday in the League Cup third round, then hosts the same team Saturday in the Premier League.
Burnley’s off to Salford City in the League Cup on the same day before going to Newcastle United for a 10am ET Saturday kick.
How to watch Burnley vs Manchester United live, stream link, time
Kickoff: 3pm ET, Saturday (Sept. 23)
TV channel: Peacock Premium
Stream: Watch on Peacock Premium
Jonny Evans joined Rebecca Lowe, Tim Howard, and Robbie Earle after a Man of the Match display in Man United’s 1-0 win at Burnley, and the interview did not disappoint.
“The result was massive. You can always get the performance. In terms of the way we worked, the way we pressed, and we defended when we had to. If we had a bit more composure we could’ve had another goal or two.”
“If you’re Manchester United and you’re not winning games, you’re going to come under a bit of scrutiny. Hopefully the lads are used to dealing with it. Sometimes you have no option but to get on with it. Hopefully we can take a bit from tonight. Even Andre catching the ball at the end, it felt like a massive result.”
“I didn’t know til yesterday halfway through training. The manager just sort of named the team and I was kinda looking around. It was an amazing moment and I was buzzing for it. I couldn’t wait. To get the assist in and more importantly get the clean sheet.”
On former teammate Tim Howard: “I remember going on loan to Antwerp and Tim’s were the only boots I could wear. When he left, he left plenty of boots behind and I made sure to get them.”
“Team spirit was big. They battled, the fought together. You saw a really good team defending with 11, following the rules and being disciplined.”
“It’s about winning. Last week was a lot against us but you need to turn that. We’ve seen the answer on the pitch.”
“It was a brilliant goal and a really lovely play.”
“We have seen so many things in the past couple weeks against us, and so many injuries.”
"[Onana] showed personality. He was really calm, composed. Did everything right in and out of possession.”
“Reguilon was ill. That tells something about character and the spirit he wants to show. He wanted to play, support, and contribute to the team.”
“Of course it’s a concern. When you have so many injuries, it’s a problem. You bring in players who are new like Reguilon and Hojlund. You can’t bring them in slowly into the team. And Hannibal [was also good].”
Jonny Evans, Bruno Fernandes, and everyone else, yeah?
Sometimes a performance is about more than the numbers, though, and there are reasons to be encouraged by Rasmus Hojlund’s day despite the lack of finish. He’s a big body who already knows how to use it and should get much better.
Josh Brownhill and the unheralded Burnley would be much more heralded if Zeki Amdouni, Luca Koleosho, and Co. could find finish in front of them. You’d be on goals to come, but will they arrive soon enough to keep the Clarets from grasping at air near the foot of the table.
Man Utd wanted a win and will likely write-off a lot of the negatives from Saturday’s result due to infatuation with the end of a three-match winless run.
Burnley had 62% possession and out-attempted Man Utd 12-11 while producing just 0.91 xG.
But the club has a talisman in Bruno Fernandes, who has been fantastic this season. And the performance of returning son Jonny Evans will make the old heads feel good about a historic club that loves to pump its pedigree.
Burnley looks certain to get points soon enough, and will hope to get right starting with a cup match vs Salford and then a run of Newcastle, Luton Town, Chelsea, Brentford, Bournemouth, and Palace. There are points in there... right?
Good and bad news for United, as Sergio Reguilon cannot go on but it signals the return of top defender Raphael Varane.
The World Cup champion and four-time UEFA Champions League winner goes central and seems certain to ignite bigger change for the Red Devils.
Longtime Sheffield United standout Sander Berge is coming into the match along with Jay Rodriguez and Jacob Bruun Larsen.
Exiting is the rest of Burnley’s starting front four, as Luca Koleosho, Aaron Ramsey, and Zeki Amdouni join injured Johann Berg Gudmundsson off the pitch.
Erik ten Hag has still not made a move for United.
It feels like Man United’s had more than the 39% possession on the board, but the total of 0.06 xG in this second half feels spot on.
Burnley has done very little to threaten to United back line but the visitors have not been sharp. As we say this, Marcus Rashford lashes a shot off a Burnley defender’s back.
Still 1-0 on the Evans to Fernandes tally. 70'
Burnley’s camped in its own third and Manchester United is probing to find a way to danger.
Diogo Dalot finds one with a sharp pass into the box and Rasmus Hojlund just can’t reach it.
He’ll feel it should be 2-0, and Dalot certainly felt he’d put the ball in the right spot for it.
Alas, 1-0, 54'
That fantastic Bruno Fernandes goal might’ve come out of almost nothing, but it’s everything to Erik ten Hag at the moment.
Jonny Evans having the assist will bring a smile to the boss’ face as well, but the Manchester United performance will do no such thing.
Zeki Amdouni should have Burnley on the board, and the Clarets had more of the ball and certainly had it more often in the dangerous areas.
Shots are 6-5 to the Clarets, and Vincent Kompany’s men have almost 60% of the ball.
But it’s 1-0 to the visitors. Them’s the breaks.
Manchester United’s likely heading to the break up 1-0 despite having a goal ruled out and ceding the ball to Burnley.
That kind of game.
Jonny Evans, who had the goal taken away for offside, sent absurd a diagonal ball over the top and Bruno Fernandes uses a ridiculous bit of fine technique to snap the ball past James Trafford in the Burnley goal.
1-0, Red Devils.
It’s a half-chance from Rasmus Hojlund, who is at a tough angle and fires a low shot wide of the near post.
He’s had 12 touches so far on the game and has had more to defensively than in attack.
United’s problems are out wide and in the midfield despite what would be presumed in being down to center back No. 5 in Jonny Evans.
Shots are 5-3 for Burnley, who has had 62 percent possession.
Johann Gudmundsson is injured and he needs to come off the pitch very early.
It’s 24-year-old Belgian attacker Mike Tresor who will enter the fray.
Tresor has two Belgium caps and is on loan from Genk.
Aaron Ramsey takes an incisive pass from Josh Brownhill and touches to an onrushing Zeki Amdouni.
The Swiss playmaker strikes across goal and hits the post! United clears the danger but Burnley will feel this game has tilted in its direction.
Still 0-0, however.
It’s been a weird viewing early, as Burnley has been given some time on the ball and also looked dangerous down the left through Charlie Taylor.
Marcus Rashford had an early half-chance for Man United, too, as both teams will be looking at the early stages as promising something brighter.
Raphael Varane is not yet fit for 90 minutes, so it’s Jonny Evans and Victor Lindelof at the back.
Lisandro Martinez and Harry Maguire aren’t in the team, so it’s not like there were loads of options for Erik ten Hag especially given a midweek trip to Germany.
The 4-3 loss to Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League in some ways gives hope, but it also taxes the squad quite a bit.
Evans, 35, is making his 132nd Premier League appearance in a Manchester United shirt but his first since 2014-15. He became a mainstay at West Brom and Leicester City before coming home. How will the Northern Irish veteran look versus Burnley at Turf Moor?
Eyebrow-raising names on the bench for Man United, as Sofyan Amrabat, Raphael Varane, and Christian Eriksen will not be a part of the XI.
Where on earth do we start with United? Erik ten Hag has called on his players to solve their problems as a collective and there have been too many individuals making mistakes and United just don’t seem to have any consistency or rhythm to their play so far this season.
Defensively they’re having big problems, especially out wide, and not having Raphael Varane, Luke Shaw and Aaron Wan-Bissaka around due to injury is a big blow. However, Varane could return for this one and Harry Maguire is also close to a return from injury.
In midfield the balance is off too but Sofyan Amrabat is close to being fit enough to make his Manchester United debut following his summer arrival from Fiorentina. Mason Mount could return too.
Up top, United look okay with Rashford and Hojlund striking up a decent partnership but they have to be more clinical because this is a United side which give up a lot of chances at the other end of the pitch.
Vincent Kompany’s side are playing an attractive, exciting and risky brand of football and it worked out very well for them last season as they dominated the Championship.
But playing that way in the Premier League is a totally different situation.
They were much better against Forest last time out and they create so many chances. But they also give up plenty of chances too and that will be the concern not just for this weekend but also for the rest of the season as they aim to stay in the Premier League.
Injury wise, Darko Churlinov, Michael Obafemi and Hjalmar Ekdal remain out. Lyle Foster is suspended after his red card, while Vitinho could return.