Later News Nov 06

Bruno Fernandes reveals Manchester United’s 'defence first' policy for upcoming derby

Manchester United will focus on defending for their upcoming derby against Manchester City, according to Red Devils playmaker Bruno Fernandes.


With United still scarred from their 5-0 drubbing at the hands of arch-rivals Liverpool two weeks ago, Fernandes has revealed that the team has collectively decided to band together to help preserve goalkeeper David De Gea’s sanity by not overworking him every weekend.


WATCH: Solskjaer insists United have moved on from Liverpool loss


Fernandes’ side was successful in securing a clean sheet bonus for De Gea last weekend with a 3-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur, but then reverted to type in midweek as they conceded twice in their 2-2 draw with Atalanta in the Champions League.


Against Manchester City tonight (SGT), however, Fernandes believes that defence will once again be their best chance of three points, with the Portuguese confident that United’s attackers have the quality up front to get a snatch and grab victory for his team.


“For us it is, 'stick to the plan', defend well,” Fernandes declared. “'Don't concede goals' is the main point for us because we know we have goals in the squad and players who can score. If we don't concede, we will score at any moment.


“The main point for us is to defend well as a team. We proposed to everyone in the dressing room after that defeat against Liverpool that we cannot concede so many goals. David de Gea has been brilliant for us, making many, many saves and still we conceded a lot of goals in many, many games.


“We have to protect him and everyone has to protect the ones behind: the forwards have to protect the midfielders, the midfielders protect the defenders, and the defenders protect the goalkeeper. At the end we will protect ourselves from conceding goals and the quality we have on the team; at any moment we can score goals and we will.”


WATCH: Solskjaer has faith in Maguire-Bailly partnership


Of course, United’s plan of being solid defensively was given a huge blow in midweek following a hamstring injury to summer signing Raphael Varane, who has been ruled out for the next month.


This means that Solskjaer will only be able to count upon the likes of Harry Maguire, Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof as his centre-backs, and United fans are already bracing themselves for the worst…


But there is hope for United fans in their recent record against the Citizens, with Solskjaer proving himself to be the only manager that Pep Guardiola has lost more games against than won.


WATCH: Guardiola discusses upcoming Manchester derby


United are currently unbeaten in four matches against City – they have won three of those games – but Guardiola insists these statistics mean nothing to him.


Instead, the Spaniard low-key flexed by pointing to the only statistic that really matters – the number of English Premier League (EPL) trophies he has won.


Said Guardiola: “They are a good, good team and this can happen, but we don't forget the points in the last five or six years. In every single season, we were ahead of them in the Premier League.


“So, you want to say, 'Okay they beat us,' it's because it can happen, and they are good. But when I landed here to finish after five seasons - this is the sixth - the number of points ahead that we are if we count every single season - at the end that is what counts.”


United are currently fifth in the EPL on 17 points after 10 games, but could go level with third-placed City with a victory at Old Trafford tonight.




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