Bruno Fernandes told Manchester United’s critics that their performances in other big games this season have been just as good as against Manchester City.
Fernandes’ early penalty set Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side on course for the win, with Luke Shaw doubling the lead after half-time.
And speaking to Sky Sports after the victory, Fernandes compared the game to United’s display at Liverpool earlier in the campaign — when they drew 0-0 — and insisted their performance levels haven’t been as bad as some said.
Fernandes said: “Maybe people will now say ‘United is finally performing against the big six’ because we won.
“But maybe we performed better against other teams and we don’t win the games. Today we scored the games and we don’t concede and this is what football is all about. Against Liverpool we had chances to score and didn’t score, one for me and one from Paul [Pogba], great saves from Alisson and we don’t score, 0-0.
“Today we had two chances to score, we had some more but we don’t do really well, but we scored from chances and win the game. Maybe against Liverpool we had more chances to win the game, but still we perform better.
“As I said before the game in an interview, the league is not a sprint. If it’s a sprint we lose straight away in the beginning of the season because we lost two games! It’s a marathon and there’s lots of games to go now. We have to do our best and not think about others.”
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Manchester United secured a memorable 2-0 derby victory over Man City at the Etihad Stadium.
Bruno Fernandes and Luke Shaw scored the goals to clinch an unexpected, but empathic, victory for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s troops against the league leaders.
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Fernandes also compared the game to the 6-1 defeat United suffered against Tottenham at home earlier in the season, insisting the early goal he scored might not have been ideal — had United not backed it up over the next 90 minutes.
He added: “Of course scoring in the first minute is perfect because City have to try a bit more, we have more space to counter and we know one of our big threats is the counter. But against Tottenham we started with a penalty in the first minute and we lost the game, so it’s not always perfect. We remained focussed until the end of the game, scored the second and we defended well.
“And if we defend well, we know we’d have the chances to score and have the players to score. Today it was Luke, but anyway we know everyone can score and do something for us. If we’re focussed and play like we did today, we’ll win every game from now until the end of the season.”
Speaking to club media, Fernandes cheekily mocked critics of his individual record in United’s big games, claiming they will try and write off his goal-scoring contribution against City because it came from the penalty spot.
“People always complain about everything,” Fernandes told MUTV. “Today will still be like ‘Bruno never scores against big teams’ because they will say ‘no open play goals. It’s a penalty so it doesn’t count’. Anyway, for us it’s the most important winning the game. When the ball hits the net it’s a goal and I will be happy, it doesn’t matter whether it’s me or another player.”