Manchester United midfielder Bruno Fernandes has explained why he celebrated the way he did after opening the scoring in Sunday’s derby win over Manchester City.
The Portuguese star converted a second-minute penalty to put United in the driving seat at the Etihad. Luke Shaw then added a second to secure the win – with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer blown away by the display of two players in particular.
Fernandes’ goal was just his second of the season against ‘big six’ rivals – and he has come under fire in recent weeks for going missing in the bigger games.
He celebrated his penalty against City by sliding on his knees and covering his ears. However, despite the goal seen as a message to his doubters, Fernandes insisted it had another meaning.
Instead, Fernandes said the celebration was for his children, Matilde and Goncalo, adding: “Every time I score, it’s for them.”
Fernandes’ goal was his 23rd of a prolific season – and he’s been tipped as favourite to win Player of the Year.
Assessing their display, the Portuguese star admits he was impressed by his side’s efforts.
“It’s always difficult to play against Manchester City,” Fernandes told Sky Sports. “They are difficult on the ball and tough to play against.
“Today we did almost everything perfect. It’s not about winning against City, it’s about winning every game.
“Scoring in the first minute was perfect, we had more space to counter. We remained focused until the end of the game. When we defend well we know we’ll have chances to score.
“The league is not a sprint. It’s is a marathon. We have to do our best and not think about others.”
Solskjaer not thinking about catching City
In all honesty, that performance may have come too late for United, who have fallen behind their rivals in the race for the title.
Even after closing the gap, United remain 11 points behind City. Talk of a title challenge seems a distant memory.
Beating City may have restored a glimmer of hope, but Solskjaer is simply thinking of doing better than last season.
He added: “They are so far ahead you can’t really think about anything but making sure we win our games and be better than last year. We were third so we want to move up the table of course.
“I thought we defended really well, we were more like ourselves with the ball attacking wise.
“Anthony Martial was man of the match and he was an even bigger doubt than Luke. That was the Anthony we know, strong, positive and taking players on. Delighted for him.”