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Manchester United 3-0 Watford: Fernandes scores first goal as Utd go fifth

Bruno Fernandes scores a penalty for Manchester United
Fernandes scored his first goal for United from the penalty spot

Bruno Fernandes' first Manchester United goal set his new club on their way to a comfortable home win against relegation-threatened Watford and into fifth in the Premier League.

Fernandes, a £47m January signing from Sporting Lisbon, converted a 42nd-minute penalty after he had been taken out by Watford keeper Ben Foster.

The goal ended a 236-minute wait for a United home goal in the Premier League after they had failed to score against Burnley and Wolves.

Anthony Martial scored an excellent second on Sunday after Watford's Troy Deeney had a goal ruled out by VAR for handball in the build-up. Mason Greenwood, 18, lashed home his 11th of the season 15 minutes from time to complete United's scoring.

Fernandes told the BBC it was a dream to score at Old Trafford. "This is the day every player wants to have. I feel lucky to score," the Portuguese midfielder said.

"Everyone knows we want to get into the Champions League places. I am here to help the team conquer this place and keep winning games, it's what I want to do, it's what I need to do."

After beating Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Monday, it was only the third time this season that United had won successive Premier League games.

While Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men have now moved into the top five, Watford remain second from bottom.

'Bruno, Bruno'

Anthony Martial and Bruno Fernandes celebrate
Fernandes celebrated with Martial after the French striker doubled United's lead

Fernandes' arrival at Old Trafford has provided an injection of enthusiasm on and off the pitch.

The United fans sing "Bruno, Bruno" in the way they used to chant Wayne Rooney's name. They certainly respond to his directness, and it was from one such burst that Foster brought him down.

Given the midfielder's elaborate jump as he ran up to take the kick, he needed to score - and he did, with Foster diving the wrong way.

Martial also seems to have responded to Fernandes' arrival.

The Frenchman's latest goal means he has found the net in three consecutive games for the first time since September 2017.

The manner of it was superb - first nudging Christian Kabasele aside, then brilliantly finding space with a neat bit of skill after Foster's initial save had returned the ball to him before keeping his composure to chip into an empty net.

Greenwood has taken a back seat in recent weeks after all the attention he was afforded in the early part of the season, but he also made his mark by smashing a shot into the roof of Watford's net to end any lingering hopes of a comeback.

Watford's worry

Troy Deeney and Etienne Capoue speak to referee Martin Atkinson
Watford had an equaliser ruled out by VAR for a handball

Watford's noisy band of supporters cannot have travelled north with much optimism.

Their side have still never won at Old Trafford, and have now lost nine in a row since their last draw in 1995.

They did have chances. Deeney took too long to try to profit from a ridiculous early mix-up in the home defence, and Luke Shaw snuffed out the chance. Abdoulaye Doucoure also forced a decent save out of David de Gea when the game was still goalless.

There was also the obligatory chant against VAR - in front of watching referees' chief Mike Riley - after Deeney's 'equaliser' was ruled out, although the handball decision given against defender Craig Dawson as he met the corner that preceded the goal was automatic under the current regulations.

After an encouraging start under Nigel Pearson, who became their third manager of the season on 6 December, Watford have now collected a single point from their past four games.

They still have to play Leicester and Manchester City, who have already beaten them 8-0 this season, in a tricky run-in that begins against Liverpool at Vicarage Road on 29 February.

Harry Gregg remembered

Prior to the game, there was an impeccably observed minute's silence for former United keeper Harry Gregg, who died on 16 February, aged 87.

In addition to a the silence, a banner was pulled across the Stretford End, proclaiming Gregg's name with a picture of the man who will forever be remembered for pulling survivors out of the wreckage following the Munich air crash in 1958, in which eight of his team-mates were killed.

Sir Bobby Charlton, who watched this game from the directors' box, is the only player from that day still alive.

Man of the match - Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United)

Bruno Fernandes celebrates scoring a penalty for Manchester United
Fernandes is the first Manchester United player whose maiden Premier League goal for the club was a penalty

'Now we want to kick on' - what they said

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Manchester United 3-0 Watford: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer pleased with 'really good' week

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to BBC Match of the Day: "A very good win, two good wins and two clean sheets, some goals to celebrate, now we want to kick on.

"I thought first half we started by gifting them some good opportunities and gradually we created more and more chances.

"Bruno Fernandes is quicker than he looks. I'm very excited by having him in. He has come in, given everyone a boost and wants to conduct a game. There are big games coming up now.

"The thing that matters in football is scoring goals and that is what Mason Greenwood does."

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Manchester United 3-0 Watford: Nigel Pearson disappointed with 'difficult day'

Nigel Pearson to Match of the Day: "It was a difficult day. A day in which we started OK.

"We had opportunities we did not make the most of and really think we put them in a position where we frustrated them. I think we started the second half OK and we went on to be opened up.

"It's frustrating because I know when we are at our best we could have had them. I thought today we were a little disjointed from time to time."

On Watford's disallowed goal: "I was unaware until I went to look at the monitor. I think we are all pretty accustomed to the wait to confirm the decision. It's a part of the game now."

Greenwood's teenage dream - the stats

  • United have won all seven of their Premier League games against Watford at Old Trafford, scoring 17 goals and conceding just two.
  • Watford have never won an away league match against United in 13 attempts (D2 L11), losing each of the past nine in a row since avoiding defeat in November 1985 in a 1-1 draw.
  • Watford have lost four of their past five games in all competitions (D1). They had only tasted defeat once in Nigel Pearson's first eight matches (W4 D3).
  • United are only the second Premier League team to be awarded 10+ penalties in consecutive seasons, after Crystal Palace (2017-18 & 2018-19).
  • Mason Greenwood has scored 11 goals in all competitions this season, more than any other Premier League teenager.
  • Anthony Martial has scored in three successive appearances for the first time since September 2017.
  • Bruno Fernandes is the first United player whose maiden Premier League goal for the club was a penalty.
  • Fernandes has scored each of the past 13 penalties he has taken in top-flight football (including 12 with Sporting Lisbon) since missing a spot-kick for Udinese in April 2016.

What's next?

Manchester United's next game is on Thursday, when they entertain Club Brugge in the second leg of their Europa League last-32 tie, currently level at 1-1. They then visit Everton next Sunday, 1 March, in the Premier League (14:00 GMT).

Watford's next game is at home to Premier League leaders Liverpool on Saturday, 29 February (17:30 GMT).

Line-ups

Man Utd

  • 1de Gea
  • 29Wan-Bissaka
  • 2Lindelöf
  • 5Maguire
  • 23Shaw
  • 17FredSubstituted forMcTominayat 79'minutes
  • 31Matic
  • 26GreenwoodSubstituted forChongat 80'minutes
  • 18Bruno Fernandes
  • 21James
  • 9MartialSubstituted forIghaloat 80'minutes

Substitutes

  • 3Bailly
  • 8Mata
  • 22Romero
  • 25Ighalo
  • 39McTominay
  • 44Chong
  • 53Williams

Watford

  • 26Foster
  • 4Dawson
  • 27Kabasele
  • 15CathcartBooked at 67mins
  • 11Masina
  • 19Hughes
  • 29Capoue
  • 37PereyraSubstituted forSarrat 69'minutes
  • 16DoucouréSubstituted forCleverleyat 80'minutes
  • 7Deulofeu
  • 9DeeneySubstituted forWelbeckat 76'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Gomes
  • 6Mariappa
  • 8Cleverley
  • 10Welbeck
  • 14Chalobah
  • 18Gray
  • 23Sarr
Referee:
Martin Atkinson
Attendance:
73,347

Match Stats

Home TeamMan UtdAway TeamWatford
Possession
Home58%
Away42%
Shots
Home21
Away7
Shots on Target
Home9
Away2
Corners
Home3
Away5
Fouls
Home6
Away15

Live Text

Match ends, Manchester United 3, Watford 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Manchester United 3, Watford 0.

Nemanja Matic (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Will Hughes (Watford).

Foul by Victor Lindelöf (Manchester United).

Danny Welbeck (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt blocked. Odion Ighalo (Manchester United) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Nemanja Matic.

Attempt missed. Tahith Chong (Manchester United) left footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Nemanja Matic.

Scott McTominay (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Tom Cleverley (Watford).

Attempt saved. Gerard Deulofeu (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Foul by Scott McTominay (Manchester United).

Gerard Deulofeu (Watford) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Attempt blocked. Adam Masina (Watford) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Craig Dawson.

Foul by Scott McTominay (Manchester United).

Craig Cathcart (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Adam Masina.

Attempt blocked. Odion Ighalo (Manchester United) left footed shot from a difficult angle on the left is blocked.

Tahith Chong (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Will Hughes (Watford).

Foul by Luke Shaw (Manchester United).

Ismaila Sarr (Watford) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Attempt missed. Harry Maguire (Manchester United) right footed shot from the left side of the box is too high. Assisted by Nemanja Matic with a cross following a set piece situation.

Substitution

Substitution, Watford. Tom Cleverley replaces Abdoulaye Doucouré.

Substitution

Substitution, Manchester United. Odion Ighalo replaces Anthony Martial.

Substitution

Substitution, Manchester United. Tahith Chong replaces Mason Greenwood.

Substitution

Substitution, Manchester United. Scott McTominay replaces Fred.

Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Etienne Capoue (Watford).

Gerard Deulofeu (Watford) hits the bar with a right footed shot from the left side of the box. Assisted by Will Hughes.

Substitution

Substitution, Watford. Danny Welbeck replaces Troy Deeney.

Goal!

Goal! Manchester United 3, Watford 0. Mason Greenwood (Manchester United) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the top left corner. Assisted by Bruno Fernandes following a fast break.

Fred (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Troy Deeney (Watford).

Offside, Watford. Ben Foster tries a through ball, but Gerard Deulofeu is caught offside.

Attempt blocked. Christian Kabasele (Watford) header from the right side of the six yard box is blocked. Assisted by Will Hughes with a cross.

Corner, Watford. Conceded by Victor Lindelöf.

Substitution

Substitution, Watford. Ismaila Sarr replaces Roberto Pereyra.

Attempt missed. Harry Maguire (Manchester United) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Bruno Fernandes with a cross following a set piece situation.

Booking

Craig Cathcart (Watford) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Liverpool26251061154676
2Man City27183668293957
3Leicester27155754272750
4Chelsea2713594537844
5Man Utd27118841291241
6Tottenham2711794436840
7Sheff Utd27101072925440
8Wolves2791263832639
9Arsenal2781363936337
10Burnley27114123339-637
11Everton27106113641-536
12Southampton27104133448-1434
13Crystal Palace2789102432-833
14Newcastle2787122441-1731
15Brighton27610113239-728
16Bournemouth2775152643-1726
17Aston Villa2774163452-1825
18West Ham2666143045-1524
19Watford2759132443-1924
20Norwich2746172451-2718
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