Bruno Fernandes helping his Manchester United side become comeback kings

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side have won their first five away games in a league campaign for the first time since 1985-86.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side have won their first five away games in a league campaign for the first time since 1985-86.

It is almost getting to the point where Manchester United going behind away from home will actually seem like a good thing to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and the club’s supporters.

This season, conceding the first goal has simply meant Solskjaer’s side will start playing really well, find an equaliser and then walk off with all three points.

That has happened in all five of their games on the road in the Premier League this term.

How do they keep doing it?

According to Solskjaer, a significant reason is because his players always believe they can turn things around.

Not all fans share that optimism, because with Manchester United trailing 1-0 to West Ham on Saturday, #oleout was trending at half-time before the visitors roared back with three goals to win 3-1 and move up to fourth.

But having Bruno Fernandes to come off the bench also helps.

United’s latest win means that since Fernandes arrived in February they have collected more points (51) than anyone else in the Premier League – including, obviously, reigning champions Liverpool and in-form Tottenham and Chelsea.

Fernandes on fire on the road again

Bruno Fernandes with the ball at West Ham
Since his debut in February, Bruno Fernandes has been directly involved in 36 goals in 38 games in all competitions for Manchester United (22 goals, 14 assists)

Manchester United have often misfired in the transfer market in recent years but the signing of Fernandes in January has made up for a lot of the dubious purchases that have come before him.

His impact on the team has been well documented and, left on the bench for the first half against the Hammers, his absence was felt as United were meek, disorganised and fortunate not to be further behind.

See also  Morocco at the top of CAF’s new ranking for clubs

Fernandes has been integral to United’s turnarounds on the road this season, having scored five goals and assisted four more in their four away league games before the trip to the London Stadium.

That was again the case against the Hammers as, 20 minutes after coming on, he set up Paul Pogba to score the equaliser.

In his 45-minute showing, the Portugal playmaker created created eight chances, more than all the other Manchester United players combined (six).

He’s also now created more chances for his team-mates this season than any other player in Europe’s top-five leagues.

Chances created in Europe’s top-five leagues this season
Player Club Chances Created (inc. assists)
Bruno Fernandes Manchester United 35
Hakan Calhanoglu AC Milan 34
Thomas Muller Bayern Munich 31
Leo Dubois Lyon 31
Memphis Depay Lyon 30

United’s ability to come back from losing positions will perhaps be both pleasing and concerning for the club’s fans.

As satisfying as the fightbacks have been, deep down their fans might well be worried about that ability to bounce back drying up.

United started slowly against West Ham and struggled for cohesion and Solskjaer must be wondering how to get his team to play as well as they do when they are losing right from kick-off.

Nevertheless, the Norwegian has shown an ability to react and correct poor starts. Against West Ham, all three of Manchester United’s substitutes – Marcus Rashford, Fernandes and Juan Mata – were directly involved in a goal.

Points after falling behind in 2020-21
Club Deficits Wins Draws Defeats Points
Man Utd 8 5 0 3 15
Liverpool 4 3 0 1 9
Chelsea 4 2 1 1 7
Tottenham 3 2 0 1 6
Leicester 5 2 0 3 6
See also  GFA President adds more "Meat to the Soup" as he foots total bill of Women Coaches taking part in License D coaching course in Tamale

“Of course you are very, very happy with the away form,” said Solskjaer. “I think the home form is decent, we are becoming more consistent and we are coping better with games like this. When you are 1-0, 2-0 down the boys still believe and that character is important.”

They have won more points from losing positions than any other side in the Premier League this season with 15 – six more than any other side.

The latest comeback win also means they have won more points from a losing position than any other side in Premier League history (385). A never-say-die attitude is nothing new to this club.

‘Man Utd need to be in charge’

For some, however, being known as the comeback kings is not a title to be proud of.

“We should give credit to Ole, what a change, but when you always have to come back something is wrong,” former Manchester United left-back Patrice Evra said on Sky Sports.

“You are Manchester United, you need to be in charge. They will celebrate the result, but not the performance.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here