Bruno Fernandes gesture to Pep Guardiola shows how Manchester United have improved
Man Utd beat Manchester City 2-0 at Old Trafford in an excellent Premier League win in the Manchester derby.
Bruno Fernandes usually puts his hands to his ears but this time pressed his finger against his lips. Pep Guardiola was trying to rile him in the 85th minute and the Manchester United midfielder simply smiled and requested silence.
At City, they insist there was never any interest in Fernandes; another Portuguese tell-tale conjured up out of thin air. Anthony Martial plucked Fernandes’s free-kick out of thin air and the Frenchman pressed his finger to his lips in front of the K Stand in the 30th minute. When Fernandes’s number was up on 88 minutes, he passed Guardiola and all the City coach could hear was ‘Bruno, Bruno, Bruno’.
United supporters went from cursing to chorusing Martial. Fernandes castigated the number nine for failing to trap the ball and then for not passing the ball. Eventually, Fernandes grabbed the game by the lapels himself; clipping the dead ball over a bewildered City defensive line for Martial to volley in, via the aid of Ederson’s flimsy palms. Martial gestured to the K Stand that had cursed on Fernandes’ behalf moments earlier, while a burly Mancunian by the press box goaded the subdued City analysts.
That United fan’s euphoria was matched by tens of thousands of others at full-time. Kieran McKenna strode onto the pitch, Fred jumped into his arms, and Mike Phelan outstretched his arms triumphantly.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer only has to think of Paris to recognise a false dawn. This feels different. United are 10 unbeaten and have inflicted a Premier League double on City for the first time since 2009-10. For the third time, Solskjaer’s tactical acumen has defeated Guardiola and the day was crowned by a local lad pinging the ball into an unguarded net with the bend of Beckham.