Man Utd move to within two points of Chelsea with Brighton victory; Bruno Fernandes says squad know they can secure top-four finish
Last Updated: 30/06/20 11:38pm
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has warned Manchester United are full of confidence and quality after fuelling their top-four charge with a resounding victory at Brighton.
United extended their unbeaten run to 15 games in all competitions with an imperious 3-0 win at the Amex Stadium that lifted them up to fifth and to within two points of fourth-placed Chelsea.
Asked if the performance was a statement of intent in the race for Champions League qualification, Solskjaer told Sky Sports: “I don’t care about making a statement, I know we are a good team.
“We are full of confidence and full of quality as well. The boys played some exceptional stuff.
“It’s always hard playing against Brighton, Graham [Potter’s] team keep the ball well, but we pressed well and started really well.”
Greenwood in the goals
Mason Greenwood fired United ahead inside 16 minutes with his sixth Premier League goal of the season before Bruno Fernandes capped another talismanic performance with two goals to put the game beyond the Seagulls.
“We were looking for that moment to get a goal, and Mason’s first was brilliant,” the United boss added. “He played fantastically.
“He’s a young kid and we know when he goes forward, he’s dangerous. His hold-up play and link-up play was great.
“He has a knack [of scoring] he can go inside or outside and is good on either foot. He’s developing into a fine player.”
Solskjaer salutes United attack
Fernandes’ double took his goal involvement tally to eight in his first eight league games for United, a tally only bettered by the nine Robin van Versie managed in his first eight games.
The highlight of the encouraging south-coast victory came early in the second half when Fernandes’ emphatic volley rounded a devastating counter for United’s game-clinching third goal.
On Fernandes’ goal, Solskjaer said: “We defended a set play well. We know we have pace to counter quickly.
“It was a great pass by Nemanja [Matic], a great cross by Mason [Greenwood] and it was fantastically finished by Bruno, so I am very happy, happy with all the goals.
“We were focused on this game, now it’s on to the next one on Saturday against Bournemouth. We’ve got to recover.
“It was great to get to 3-0 so I could take Bruno and Luke [Shaw] off because they have had a hard weekend with 120 minutes in the FA Cup, so it worked out well.”
8 – Bruno Fernandes has been directly involved in eight goals in his first eight Premier League games for Man Utd (five goals & three assists) – only Robin van Persie has had more (9) at this stage of his PL career with the club. Sensation. pic.twitter.com/iw4oxj4T4j
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 30, 2020
Fernandes: We know we can get top four
After his man of the match performance, Fernandes set his sights on securing a top-four finish and said it’s a target he and his team-mates know is achievable.
“The most important thing is the three points, but we played well, and the result was good,” the Portuguese said.
“We didn’t concede again which is important. David de Gea made two or three amazing saves, we are very happy.
“We knew that we needed to push forwards and to try and score from minute one. I was lucky with the first goal and the second goal was amazing, an amazing pass from Mason.
“We are fighting for a place in the Champions League and we know we can achieve this.
“I don’t want to talk too much about me and Paul Pogba, we are happy to play together but I am happy to play with everyone. We can combine together, we have qualities, but we know that we have team-mates who can do well.”