Man Utd midfielder Bruno Fernandes targeting ‘bigger things’ as club fights for Champions League
Bruno Fernandes says Manchester United have to qualify for the Champions League but “soon these players will be fighting for much bigger things”.
United are one point ahead of fifth-placed Liverpool in the Premier League – having played a game fewer – and in control of their top-four destiny but, after back-to-back defeats, pressure is building on Erik ten Hag’s side.
They need nine points from their remaining four games to be certain of finishing above Liverpool, who have won six games on the bounce to re-enter the battle for Champions League football.
Fernandes, who has never progressed from the group stage of the Champions League since moving to Old Trafford in 2020, believes United belong in Europe’s elite club competition.
“We want Champions League football,” Fernandes said ahead of Saturday’s visit of Wolves. “This club deserves it, this club has to be in that position.”
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United have exceeded expectations in Ten Hag’s first campaign after a disastrous season last time out under interim boss Ralf Rangnick produced the club’s lowest-ever points tally in the Premier League era.
Fernandes added: “I think these players deserve to be there, too, because we have such a great team that has been doing a great job this season when no one thought Man Utd could be fighting for the top four.
“We know everyone is now saying, ‘Oh Man Utd has been great’, but I remember in the beginning of the season no one put our team in the top six so I think it is a good surprise for them but not for us. We knew that we could be there, we know that we could be even higher in the league.
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“We had our moments and that’s why we’re in the position of fighting for the top four and not bigger things. But I think soon, this club, these players will be fighting for much bigger things.”
PL predictions: Man Utd slip to open door to Liverpool
Sky Sports’ Lewis Jones:
Goals flowed like they have never flowed before last weekend in the Premier League but don’t be lured in by short-termism. This game looks one to oppose goals.
Manchester United are crawling towards their goal of a top-four finish, very much playing in job-done mode rather than the free-flowing football we’re accustomed to seeing at this time of the season. And with United’s recent malaise in front of goal, the case for a low-scoring encounter is an easy one to make with the league’s lowest scorers Wolves in town.
Erik ten Hag’s men have scored just 14 goals in their last 14 matches across all competitions, and eight of their last nine matches in the Premier League have fallen under the 2.5 goals line with just 1.5 total match goals scored per game.
The goal-shy nature of Wolves’ games has also maintained under Julen Lopetegui – in fact, since the start of the 2020/21 season Wolves have averaged less than a goal every game, scoring just 104 goals in 111 Premier League matches.
The market may have got the goal expectancy wrong here, with 5/4 with Sky Bet available on the game falling under the 2.5 goal line. Another United wobble could be on the cards.
SCORE PREDICTION: 0-0
Man Utd’s remaining fixtures
May 13: Wolves (H) – Premier League, kick-off 3pm
May 20: Bournemouth (A) – Premier League, kick-off 3pm
May 25: Chelsea (H) – Premier League, kick-off 8pm, live on Sky Sports
May 28: Fulham (H) – Premier League, kick-off 4.30pm
June 3: Manchester City (N) – FA Cup final, kick-off 3pm