Solskjaer hails Fernandes as Manchester United star downs Liverpool

United manager added to Red's woes as the playmaker capped a thrilling tie with his late strike at Old Trafford


REUTERS January 25, 2021

MANCHESTER:

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer saluted Bruno Fernandes' perfectionist personality after the Manchester United midfielder's brilliant free kick clinched a 3-2 win over Liverpool in the FA Cup fourth round on Sunday (Jan 24).

Solskjaer's side added to Liverpool's woes as Fernandes capped a thrilling tie with his late strike at Old Trafford.

Premier League leaders United recovered from Mohamed Salah's early opener to score through Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford.

Salah equalised before Portugal playmaker Fernandes came off the bench and underlined his class with a superb winner in the 78th minute.

"Great goal. When you leave him out like I did today, he stayed about 45 minutes after training yesterday shooting free kicks so I was pretty confident he could score one if he got the chance," Solskjaer said.

"He's never happy with me when I tell him to go inside after training when he's playing the next day so he got some practice yesterday."

United, who sit six points clear of Liverpool in the Premier League, are on a superb run after shaking off their poor start to the season.

Coming from behind to beat a team of Liverpool's quality was further proof of their renaissance.

"Brilliant. You know when you go a goal down, the reaction of everyone was really good," Solskjaer said.

"We played some really good stuff, good goals, we have to defend well against them and we managed to react well.

"Of course, towards the end, there were some moments but we kept them away.

"We felt if we could switch the ball early we could attack them because Liverpool defend on the front foot, so we had to be quick on the ball. We did that well."

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp tried to remain upbeat despite his team's woeful run - they have won only once in seven games since Christmas -  continuing.

“It’s not what we wanted, so it’s frustrating,” he said. “We weren’t on our absolute top, but we made a lot of steps in the right direction.

“You could see the boys really wanted to change the fortune, they wanted to score goals and that’s good. We did that, we scored twice, which is good as well. That’s all okay but in the end they scored three, we scored two and they are through.

“But we can take positives out of this game, of course – I saw a lot of steps in the right direction and that’s all good.”

Since his United debut in February 2020, Fernandes' 28 goals are more than any other Premier League player.

"I'm happy because we won, nothing more. Most important was going to the next round. It doesn't matter who scores. Of course if I score, I'm happy, that's for sure," he said.

"I work a lot on these kind of goals, free kicks. I tried, this one was good.

"Before the free-kick, Edinson Cavani told me, 'Try the hard one on the side of the 'keeper.' I tried it and it went well."

Asked how excited he is by United's recent progression, Fernandes said: "A lot. As I said when I had just arrived this is everything, a dream come true.

"To play for this big club, to play in the Premier League, it's a dream come true."

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