Bruno Fernandes fine volley in the second half proved to be the point of difference between hosts Southampton and Manchester United in visitors’ 1-0 win at St Mary’s Park on Saturday.
This is Manchester United manager Erik Ten Hag’s first away win. After a brutal 4-0 demolition at the hands of Brentford two weeks back, United brought their season back on track with an impressive win over arch-rival Liverpool at home.
Heading into this match, the side was looking forward to building on that win and momentum from it. The first 20 minutes had very even gameplay before Southampton goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu made a brilliant to deny Anthony Elanga the first goal.
Further before the second half, the hosts did some solid defending to keep away Bruno and Christian Eriksen away from the net, and the lead. Ten Hag’s side controlled the possession of the ball largely but Southampton continued to look dangerous.
Defender Armel Bella-Kotchap could have broken the deadlock in 30 minutes, but failed. Then United goalie David de Gea made a brilliant save to thwart an attempt by Che Adams just minutes later.
As the first half ended, the scoreline read 0-0. Four minutes after the break, United could have scored but Scott McTominay’s effort was saved by Buzunu at the near post.
Finally, in the 55th minute of the match, Fernandes applied a brilliant finish to a cross by Diogo Dalot and gave his side the lead.
Southampton had their share of chances throughout the match, but great defending from United and some solid saves from de Gea kept the hosts out of the match.
With this win, United has ended their run of seven straight away defeats in Premier League and has extended their unbeaten run against Southampton in their backyard to 15 games across all competitions.
“I saw a team on the pitch, good organisation, fight for each other, and I think there were also some excellent moments from playing football,” Ten Hag said afterwards.
“There is a lot of room for improvement, that’s quite clear, but for me that is normal.”
After the match, United manager Erik was quoted as saying by agencies, “I think we did a lot better [than] against Brentford. I saw a team on the pitch, good organisation, fight for each other, and I think there were also some excellent moments from playing football.”
“We scored finally in the best part of Man United after half-time. I think that 10-15 minutes was really good. We played a really good possession game and scored a wonderful goal. There is a lot of room for improvement, that’s quite clear, but for me, that is normal.”
“Communication is always tough, that is one. The second is cooperation with the team, which is new. A new way of play, so a lot of new facts, and that will not go 100 per cent from the start. But we have to get results, we have to win games, and that is what we went through. And we did today, so I am really happy with that,” he concluded.
Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl also said, “I think the performance was very good. I [did not] have one player in the team where I could say I was not happy about his performance, and that shows you after the game that you did a good job with the quality we have, with the weapons we have to stress them.”
“We had a lot of chances created today and did not give them a lot, so from this part, I think we matched them. In the end, maybe we had the better chances but did not score.”
“I am not scared with this team. I see how quick the guys are learning and how quick we are adapting to this quality. We can be proud of what I have seen today,” he concluded.
With this win, United are now at the seventh position on the table with six points and two wins in four games. They will make a trip to Leicester on Thursday.
Southampton, on the other hand, are in 14th position with four points and just one win in four games. They will host Chelsea on Tuesday.