EPL: Man Utd and Ten Hag avoid another blow as Fernandes snatches a late win

The Red Devils looked set to drop points for the sixth time in their opening 11 Premier League games after another lacklustre performance at Craven Cottage.

But Fernandes’ strike from outside the box in the 91st minute had just enough power to beat Bernd Leno and offer some relief to his manager.

The victory lifts United up to sixth and within five points of the top four, while Fulham remain 14th and seven points above the relegation zone.

United had an early goal disallowed by VAR as Harry Maguire was deemed offside before Scott McTominay turned in Alejandro Garnacho’s cross.

Fulham had the better chances in the second half, as Andre Onana made two fine saves from Harry Wilson and Joao Palhinha, while Willian dragged a shot wide.

United looked destined for their first draw since April until Fulham failed to clear their lines in stoppage time and the ball fell to Fernandes.

The Portuguese midfielder, who has been one of the main targets for criticism in a disastrous start to the campaign, showed great composure to cut inside and fire a low shot past Leno.

It was his 10th goal of the season in all competitions and his first in the Premier League since August.

Ten Hag, who has been under intense scrutiny after losing 3-0 to Manchester City and Newcastle in the past week, praised Fernandes for his leadership and quality.

“He is a fantastic captain and a fantastic player. He always gives everything for the team, and he has a winning mentality. He scored a great goal today, and I’m very happy for him and the team,” Ten Hag said.

Fulham manager Marco Silva rued his side’s missed opportunities and lamented the late lapse in concentration that cost them a point.

“We played well, and we created some good chances. We defended well, and we were very close to getting a positive result. But we made a mistake at the last minute, and we paid a high price for it. It’s very frustrating and disappointing,” Silva said.

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