Premier League

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer forced to defend Man Utd superstar Bruno Fernandes after criticism of display at Liverpool

OLE GUNNAR SOLSKJAER has found himself defending Bruno Fernandes after criticism of his star player’s performance at Liverpool.

Former United captain Roy Keane was one who picked out the four-time Premier League Player of the Month after a tight goalless draw at Anfield.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has jumped to the defence of Bruno Fernandes

But Solskjaer pointed to his free kick going narrowly wide and a late chance from close range that demanded a great save as examples of how close he came to winning the game.

Solskjaer said: “If it just had a little air on the ball when Luke put the cross in he’d have been lauded as best player in Premier League again. He’s been immense.

“That free-kick, I thought that was in too.

“Some passes he plays are marginal, on or off. But he’s always on the verge of creating something when he loses the ball and that’s what he’s been told to do, I want him to play the passes he sees.”

Solskjaer also rejected claims that the demands on Fernandes this season have left him a bit jaded.

The Manchester United boss said: “His form is very good. He’s just been voted Player Of The Month.

“He’s not tired, no, no chance. He is one of the players that runs and covers the ground every single game, good at recharging his batteries.

“He’s not tired and if I ask him he’ll say there’s no chance he’s tired.
“He’s expected to create goals, score goals and sometimes the margins are against him.”

Fernandes has struggled to produce against the ‘big six’

Despite leaving Anfield top of the league United’s goals have dried up a bit with just two from their last four.

But that’s not a concern for Solskjaer.

He said: “I think this season we’ve scored more goals, created more chances than before.

“It’s a matter of time until those margins that were against us against Liverpool go our way again.

“Relationships are working better, the foundation will always be the hard work and the shape and at Manchester United we are expected to create chances from everywhere.”

Despite admitting last month that the demands of the job at United have turned his hair grey he says there is only one element of it he does not enjoy.

He said: “Of course I’m enjoying it, I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t and didn’t feel I was giving something back to the club, I can’t say there’s a lot I don’t enjoy.

“I don’t enjoy leaving players out, it’s hard for big games, players who deserve to play, it’s a difficult job to tell them on Sunday they’re not in a job and on Monday they’re back in a job.

“The chat to explain why they don’t play isn’t a good one.

“But that’s what I love about the job as well, working with human beings, to get the best out individuals.”

United face a Fulham side on Wednesday night that manager Scott Parker has steadied after a very rocky start to the season.

They had drawn their previous five league games before a narrow 1-0 defeat to Chelsea at the weekend to at least give them hope of beating the drop.

Solskjaer said: “I think they’ve had a good turnaround from a slow start. They made some very good signings towards the end of the window and they’re very well coached.

“Scott and the team trust their own organisation, team shape, and it’s one of the hardest teams to break down.

“It’s hard enough to go to Craven Cottage anyway but at the minute they’re really well structured on and off the ball, with quick strong players defensively and players that can make the difference. It will be another tough game in the Premier League.”

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