Manchester United eased the pressure on their manager with a 3-1 win over Everton at Goodison Park on Saturday.
The two Premier League ever-presents played out an entertaining encounter with Bernard handing Carlo Ancelotti’s side an early lead. After Bruno Fernandes equalised with a powerful header, the 26-year-old completed the turnaround with a cross that sailed just over Marcus Rashford and past goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, before providing the assist as Edinson Cavani sealed the deal with seconds remaining.
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The visitors’ quick passing movement was a constant threat from the word go, and there was real fluidity to their play in comparison to some of their earlier performances this season. They kept possession well, exploited open spaces and continued to neutralise Everton’s attacking threat at every available opportunity. In terms of game on game improvement, this was substantial.
No matter what Manchester United do, they cannot seem to cut out some of their more obvious lapses in concentration — especially at the back. There were occasions in which two or three players were being drawn to the same ball, which opened the play up nicely for the Toffees, and from an aerial standpoint, the Red Devils were beaten to the ball more times than we can count.
Manager rating out of 10
8 — Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had a smile on his face from the moment he stepped off the team bus and now, it’s clear to see why. He set his team up with real attacking intent and despite putting out a starting XI that some considered to be questionable, he stuck to his guns and put his trust in the team to protect the lead they’d built for themselves.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best, players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK David De Gea, 6 — The Spain international was largely solid for United and couldn’t have done too much more to prevent Bernard’s opener.
DF Aaron Wan-Bissaka, 5 — Struggled constantly with Bernard down the right flank and was partially responsible for Everton’s goal.
DF Harry Maguire, 7 — Showed real leadership and composure at the back and he was unlucky not to win a penalty in the 60th minute.
DF Victor Lindelof, 6 — Should have done better in the air for Bernard’s goal and often drifted out of position, but the centre-back did manage to make a few vital interceptions.
DF Luke Shaw, 7 — Made a handful of nice overlapping runs down the wing and also defended well, with his impressive outing culminating in an assist for the equaliser.
MF Fred, 8 — Serves as a strong box-to-box option for United and while his bursts of energy and challenges can sometimes be inconsistent, he always strives to drive the team further up the pitch.
MF Scott McTominay, 7 — Held the midfield structure well even if he often didn’t commit to many attacks in the final third.
MF Juan Mata, 7 — Didn’t do much of any relevance when he sat deep but as he moved further forward, Mata opened up the game with ease and was involved in many of his side’s intricate passages of play.
MF Bruno Fernandes, 9 — The Portugal star returned to his best form with an energetic display that earned him two goals and an assist.
FW Marcus Rashford, 7 — Fought his way into good positions in the box and served as the perfect “distraction” for Fernandes’ second of the afternoon.
FW Anthony Martial, 5 — Lacked the killer instinct necessary to make a difference, although he did come close with a 16th-minute shot that drifted just wide.
DF Axel Tuanzebe, 6 — Had a few nervy moments in his 25-minute cameo but ultimately didn’t do anything to cost United the three points.
MF Paul Pogba, N/A — Came on late in the game to help protect the lead after slipping down the pecking order at Old Trafford.
FW Edinson Cavani, N/A — Finally scored his first Manchester United goal with a cool finish in injury time that capped a lively substitute appearance.
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