Fernandes: We have to kill games off

Sunday 28 January 2024 20:00

Bruno Fernandes felt Manchester United could have made sure of our win against Newport County much sooner, but was ultimately pleased with how the side progressed in the Emirates FA Cup.

United are into the fifth round of the competition, with Fernandes opening the scoring, before further strikes from Kobbie Mainoo, Antony and Rasmus Hojlund in our 4-2 triumph at Rodney Parade.

Fernandes’s opener was followed by Mainoo’s first senior career goal, putting us two goals ahead inside 13 minutes, but the Reds’ captain was disappointed with how we failed to extend our lead from there and, instead, allowed Newport back in to level the score.

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“It was not the perfect result for us, we didn’t want to concede goals,” our no.8 told BBC Sport after the game.

“Obviously, the first one, it’s a great goal for them, and it’s an unbelievable shot. After, we have to bring our focus in the second half, we can’t concede another goal and let them have some belief; we have to kill the game straightaway, in the first half.

“We had chances to make it 3-0 but, when you get to 2-0 in these kinds of games, everyone wants to try to score, get their goal and everything, and sometimes you don’t get the best decision for the team. We didn’t. They got to 2-1, obviously, [with] a bit of belief, second half, they start and they get a goal, but I think, after, we did a great job to close the game.”

The reward for the second-half strikes that followed from Antony and Hojlund, proving enough to win the contest, is an away tie against one of Bristol City or Nottingham Forest in the fifth round.

Those sides played out a goalless draw on Friday night at Ashton Gate, and will contest a replay early next month to decide who will earn the right to host United in the next round.

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After reaching the final last season, Fernandes is keen for us to continue our momentum in this competition, as we target another Wembley appearance come the end of the campaign.

“Of course, we have to understand that our chance to win a trophy this season is in the FA Cup,” continued the Portugal international.

“We have to give everything to get into the final - step by step, game by game. But we know that to make the season look not as bad as it’s been, we have to try to win this trophy, because it’s important for us.

“We’ve been in the final last year, unfortunately we didn’t get the trophy. We know how much it means, the FA Cup, for our fans, for our club, for the country.

“We know how important it is and it’s important for us too because we want to get in the final again and win.”