Practice made perfect for Bruno Fernandes as the Portuguese playmaker’s Saturday preparations proved to be worthwhile.
Many eyebrows were raised when Bruno Fernandes started on the bench against Liverpool in Sunday’s FA Cup clash but it actually turned out to be a wise decision as being left out of the starting XI gave the Manchester United talisman time to put his free-kick skills to the test in training.
Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer revealed that he doesn’t often allow Fernandes to spend time practising free-kicks but the United boss was happy to let the 26-year-old do so on Saturday because he didn’t have to prepare with the starting XI.
So when Fernandes replaced Donny van de Beek after 65 minutes and was given the opportunity to fire United into the lead 10 minutes later with the score finely poised at 2-2, Solskjaer was confident in his player’s ability to beat Alisson Becker in the Liverpool goal.
“You never know if the ‘keeper is going to make a save or not,” Solskjaer told beIN Sport.
Ole Gunnar Solskjær has revealed that he let substitute Bruno Fernandes practise free-kicks before Liverpool in training yesterday.
Luckily it seems like the practice paid off for the Portuguese playmaker and Manchester United! #FACup
— beIN SPORTS (@beINSPORTS_EN) January 24, 2021
“But because Bruno wasn’t starting today, he finally had time to practise (free-kicks). I never let him practise but yesterday, he probably stayed out for half an hour or 45 minutes practising free-kicks with the subs and it worked.”
The 3-2 win for United sets up a home clash in the FA Cup fifth round against David Moyes’ West Ham, with the game scheduled to take place on February 10.
10 – Manchester United have eliminated Liverpool from the FA Cup proper for the 10th time; in the competition's history, only Liverpool themselves (12 v Everton) have knocked a particular side out more times (including finals). Bragging. pic.twitter.com/Uh1ByptM1J
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 24, 2021
Solskjaer revealed what he told his players going into Sunday’s cup tie, which came seven days after United and Liverpool played out a 0-0 draw at Anfield in the Premier League.
“I think both teams wanted to win,” Solskjaer said.
“We wanted to attack. Of course the game last week was more tentative. Today our message to the boys was to ‘go for it, be more positive, it’s a cup game so you can relax, don’t think about the league position at all and go and enjoy it.'”