Bruno Fernandes says Manchester United are making it “too easy” for opponents as the frustrated midfielder reflected on all too familiar themes in the punishment loss to Manchester City.
Fifteen days after the 5-0 humiliation at home by archrival Liverpool, their closest neighbors arrived at Old Trafford and inflicted another home loss on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.
The Norwegian is under new scrutiny and pressure after City won in a much more comfortable way than the 2-0 score suggests, with United struggling on and off possession.
Poor defense led to Eric Bailly’s own goal and then Bernardo Silva’s goal just at the break, leaving Fernandes infuriated by the costly features.
“Obviously everyone is frustrated by the result, also by the performance,” said the Portuguese.
“We know that we can do much better and we know that this is not enough for a player who represents this great club. We have to look in the mirror.”
“I’m saying the same things again probably from the last interview, but that’s it.
“We have to look at ourselves, at everyone at home, understand what they can do better to help the team.
“We just have to apologize to the fans and that’s it, because it wasn’t good enough of us.
“Great atmosphere they create. They pushed us to the end, they tried to give us that energy but from us, it was not enough.”
City opened the scoring seven minutes into the proceedings when Bailly turned home with a cross from Joao Cancelo, whose optimistic cross late in the first half Luke Shaw thought he was coming out until Silva intervened.
There were countless poor defensive moments by United throughout a match that would have gotten much uglier had David de Gea not produced a series of excellent saves between the visiting goals.
“It is always a bad time to concede a goal,” said Fernandes. “The problem is the way we design the goals. It’s too easy.
“As I said many, many times, if it wasn’t David again, the score could be much higher and worse for us.
“We have to protect better, David, because he’s protecting us a lot and we have to help him because he can’t make eight, nine saves in every game and then concede goals.”
United had only been three points behind City going into the game, but the loss means they finished as close to Burnley on Saturday in the last relegation spot as Premier League leaders Chelsea.
“The city was so much better than us,” Fernandes said. MUTV. “They go around the field, they touch the ball many times, they make us run.
“It is difficult to play against them. They are good and we knew it.
“Obviously, when they come up with the result, it’s even worse. Today they played much better than us and that’s it.”
The international hiatus comes as a respite for those connected to United, who return to action after the international hiatus at Watford.
“Yes, it will be long, but now is the time for everyone to focus on the national team that goes to the national team,” added the Portuguese.
“Those who stay here try to work hard, recover well and be prepared for the games to come.”
Gary Neville has admitted that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is under “massive, massive pressure” following Manchester United’s 2-0 loss to Manchester City, but insisted the United manager is unlikely to be fired mid-season.
After a relatively stabilized week, United beat Spurs 3-0 and drew 2-2 in the last minute with Atalanta, returning to the slump with just four touches in the City area on Saturday.
“Ole is under huge, massive pressure, but the first thing that has to happen is he needs a team with courage,” Neville said.
“Until the end of last season, the feeling here [at Old Trafford] It was that there was progression because they finished second in the league. So everyone thought they got their recruitment right in the summer.
“So the club has not planned this. I know there are some United fans who think that the club should have acted two weeks ago because Antonio Conte was available but this club was never going to name Conte and they are not prepared for this moment because they have the plan behind Ole.
“I don’t think there is any possibility that there will be a decision [on the manager] during this season, unless it gets so bad and is getting to the point where it is so bad. They are 11 points away from the top of the league if Chelsea win today [Chelsea drew, so United are 9 points behind] And this United squad shouldn’t be [so far] off the top. Nobody expected this. No one would have expected United to fall so low at this point in the season.
“I think he has a few weeks to fix it.”