After surviving a few first-half scares with Burnley hitting the post, captain Fernandes settled manager Erik ten Hag’s nerves by volleying a Jonny Evans pass Robin van Persie-style on the stroke of the interval.
On TV, an admiring Rio Ferdiannd said: ‘That is what captains do. They step up in big moments when you need something special.’
It was a gutsy rather than convincing United win but they’ll take it after a traumatic start to the season and their back-four entirely made up of understudies because of injury, with 35-year-old Evans the most surprising pick.
Burnley, managed by United’s old nemesis Vincent Kompany, could feel aggrieved to be trailing at half-time but nonetheless slump to the foot of the table with this defeat.
Bruno Fernandes scores the only goal of the game as Man Utd beat Burnley 1-0 at Turf Moor
The United captain helped stopped the rot after a run of three games without a win
Jonny Evans was a surprise starter but laid on the assist for Bruno Fernandes’ winning goal
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Everyone inside Turf Moor at kick off knew something had to give with Burnley having lost all their previous home games and United pointless away.
Erik ten Hag, already without Luke Shaw and Aaron wan-Bissaka long-term, had to contend with a fresh injury to Lisandro Martinez while a knee issue meant Harry Maguire still wasn’t available and Raphael Varane only fit enough for the bench.
The Dutchman therefore turned to 35-year-old Evans for his first Premier League start with the club since 2015, having re-signed for United in the summer.
Burnley (4-3-3): Trafford, Roberts, Al Dakhil, Beyer, Taylor, Cullen, Brownhill (Benson 86), Ramsey (Berge 73), Gudmundsson (Tresor 20), Koleosho (Larsen 73), Amdouni (Rodriguez 73)
Subs not used: Cork, Zaroury, Delcroix, Muric
Man Utd (4-2-3-1): Onana, Dalot, Lindelof, Evans (Amrabat 89), Reguilon (Varane 79), Casemiro, Mejbri, McTominay, Rashford, Fernandes, Hojlund
Subs not used: Bayindir, Martial, Eriksson, Garnacho, Pellistri, Van de Beek, Gore
Goal-scorer: Fernandes 45
Booked: Dalot, Reguilon
Hannibal Mejbri and Scott McTominay were also drafted in to bring younger legs to a new-look midfield. The Tunisian’s only previous United start came in 2022 against Crystal Palace under Ralf Rangnick.
For Burnley, Zeki Amdouni was asked to fill the striking boots of suspended Lyle Foster. Amdouni was pushed further forward with Aaron Ramsey coming into midfield following his summer move from Aston Villa.
United looked crisp in their all-white kit and started brightly with Marcus Rashford firing into the side-netting in the opening minute.
Rashford then fed Fernandes whose fierce cross-shot forced the first save of the game from James Trafford.
Burnley didn’t get into the United box until the 10th minute but would have scored without a magnificent stretching save by Amadou Onana, who had been at fault for the midweek Champions League defeat against Bayern Munich.
Josh Brownhill and Conor Roberts combined down the right and when the ball was fired in Amdouni’s downward header was destined the corner until Onana sprung into action and clawed the ball away.
Diogo Dalot became the first player to be booked when he had to foul Luca Koleosho to stop the Burnley winger from flying past him.
The home side have an energy under Vincent Kompany that United tried to counter by slowing the game down with patient passing, all the way from Onana at the back.
But when Burnley got near the United penalty area, they were mightily dangerous.
After 17 minutes, Ramsey slipped in Amdouni and though he slipped the ball past Onana it bounced off the inside of the post and was cleared by the relieved visitors.
The closest Burnley came was when Zeki Amdouni hit the post in a bright first half for the hosts
Vincent Kompany is still waiting for his first win as a Premier League boss with Burnley
There was time to give a debut to summer signing Sofyan Amrabat who was a latw sub
Burnley fans were then fired up when Hojlund went down looking for a free-kick as he tussled with Roberts and gestured in frustration when he got nothing.
Johan Gudmundsson, one of Burnley’s most experienced players, had to leave the field after 20 minutes with Mike Tresor coming on for his first Turf Moor appearance having signed from Genk in the summer.
United needed a relaxant and it nearly came from an unlikely source after 25 minutes.
Evans met Sergio Reguilon’s corner well with a glancing header and the celebrations were wild – until VAR spotted Hojlund obstructing Trafford’s view and possibly obstructing him as well from an offside position.
Though technology is often finickity it was the correct decision on this occasion – Hojlund was trying to gain an unfair advantage and hopefully had it pointed out to him by team-mates.
Despite an unusually mild evening in Burnley, United’s midfield enforcer Casemiro opted for gloves.
The Brazilian was able to enjoy his presumably warm half-time cuppa with United in front after Onana had managed to save from Ramsey at the second attempt.
As the board signalled three minutes of injury time, they took the lead with a goal of real quality out of place with the rest of the first half.
There was a touch of the great Wayne Rooney-van Persie combination against Aston Villa in United’s last title-winning side about the breakthrough.
This time Evans played the Rooney part with a lofted pass to Fernandes on the right angle of the penalty area.
The win at Turf Moor eases some of the pressure that’s been put on boss Erik ten Hag
From there, the Portuguese midfielder showed his technical class, watching the ball as it dropped out of the sky before hitting a right-footed sidefoot volley that flew past Trafford giving the goalkeeper no chance.
Fernandes hadn’t scored in the Premier League away from Old Trafford since January and it felt hugely significant for a club low on morale because of injuries, poor results and off-field issues of varying kinds involving Mason Greenwood, Antony and Jadon Sancho.
Some neat interplay between the skipper and Casemiro at the start of the second period hinted that the confidence was just starting to creep back.
A well-worked move to Scott McTominay on the edge of the box deserved better than the midfield’s scuffed shot into the arms of Trafford.
At the other end, United’s makeshift back line held Burnley fairly well though the pace of Kompany’s players coupled with by the visitor’s slender advantage meant there were always nerves when The Clarets crossed the halfway line.
There was a scare after 75 minutes when Burnley sub Jacob Bruun Larsen bore down on goal shortly after coming on with Onana bravely coming out to close the angle and block, and ten Hag brought on Sofyan Amrabat for his United debut to help see out the final few minutes.
Source From: Football | Mail Online