Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

TNT pundits name two stars Ten Hag can trust after dragging Man Utd to victory over Fulham

TNT Sports pundits Rio Ferdinand and Joe Cole

TNT Sports pundits Rio Ferdinand and Joe Cole named two Manchester United stars who stood up tall against Fulham, though insisted the overall team performance was poor despite securing the win.

Manchester United squared off against Fulham with their manager’s job seemingly hanging in the balance. Reports have claimed incoming partial-owner, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, plans to sack Erik ten Hag regardless of whether he oversees a change in fortune between now and when the takeover is ratified.

Fabrizio Romano responded to the sack talk, delivering a more measured verdict.

However, what is clear is United desperately needed three points at Fulham to take the first step towards putting their season back on track.

United were made to work for the victory and for much of the game, appeared destined to only take a point.

However, the much maligned Bruno Fernandes stepped up when it mattered most, rifling home the winner in the 91st minute.

When running the rule on United’s display post-match, TNT Sports duo Rio Ferdinand and Joe Cole both commended Fernandes.

The pair also insisted Harry Maguire is another player Ten Hag can trust after putting in yet another rock solid display.

Fernandes “took responsibility” – Rio Ferdinand

“The captain stood up,” said Ferdinand. “We needed a big performance and needed a goal and at a critical time he (Fernandes) stepped up.

“They needed someone to step out of the shadows and into the spotlight and that was him. He took responsibility and it was a fantastic strike.”

Ferdinand also heaped praise on Maguire who overcame a very early scare at Craven Cottage.

Maguire sustained a knock to the jaw inside the first minute and dropped to his knees after purposely playing the ball straight out of play to receive treatment.

Substitute Raphael Varane began to warm up, but Maguire soldiered on and helped United keep what proved to be a vital clean sheet in the capital.

“[Maguire] deserves special mention as well,” continued Ferdinand. “The injury in the first seconds of the game, but he battled his way through.

“We said before the game [Man Utd] need a performance… it’s not about performance, that wasn’t a good performance today.

“But they got the three points and that’s the most important thing.”

Fernandes a “proven matchwinner”; Maguire can be trusted – Joe Cole

Fellow pundit Joe Cole echoed the praise given to Maguire while also adding: “It’s a huge goal for Erik ten Hag and Manchester United.

“Rio is right, we said before the game [Ten Hag] is going to pick players he trusts. Bruno Fernandes – proven matchwinner. He can trust him.

“Scott McTominay – outstanding in midfield, he did his job. Harry Maguire – he can trust, he knows what he’s going to get.

“Jonny Evans – that was backbone to Man Utd. It wasn’t a good performance by any stretch of the imagination, but you’ve got to give the Man Utd players credit for sticking at it and digging in.

“This could be a catalyst [to turn United’s season around].”

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