Following consecutive three-goal drubbings at Old Trafford against Manchester City and Newcastle United, the Red Devils travelled to Craven Cottage on Saturday – keen to pick up a positive result to alleviate the growing pressure on Erik ten Hag.
FUL: Leno; Robinson, Ream, Bassey, Castagne; Palhinha, Iwobi; Willian, Pereira, Wilson; Carvalho
MUN: Onana; Dalot, Evans, Maguire, Wan-Bissaka; Eriksen, McTominay; Garnacho, Fernandes, Antony; Højlund
Despite looking to be an appealing fixture on paper pre-match, the action in West London failed to live up to expectations on Saturday lunchtime – with Scott McTominay’s early strike disallowed for a controversial offside by referee John Brooks.
The chance came just minutes after Harry Maguire dropped to his knees after sustaining a head injury but continued to play the entire ninety minutes, with several stoppages needed to reassess the Manchester United defender.
Criticised heavily by Erik ten Hag ahead of the fixture, Marcus Rashford’s absence was notable as he was sidelined through a leg injury – with the Red Devils struggling to create chances.
Bruno Fernandes had the best opportunity, forcing Bernd Leno into a fine save – but Andre Onana was the busier of the two goalkeepers, leaping to deny Harry Wilson and João Palhinha.
Yet Bruno Fernandes would silence the home crowd in stoppage time. Dispossessing Palhinha in a dangerous area, the Portuguese midfielder played through Scott McTominay to prompt pinball inside the penalty area – allowing the United captain to latch back onto the ball and dispatch an effort into the bottom corner.Embed from Getty Images
Manchester United narrow the gap between themselves and the high-flying league leaders, but another defeat paints a harrowing picture for Saturday’s hosts as they fail to distance themselves from the drop zone.
Fulham travel to Villa Park next time out, while Manchester United must travel to Copenhagen in midweek before hosting Luton Town on Saturday.