Manchester United captain Bruno Fernandes has cited the club’s fans as the difference after they fought to a comeback win against Barcelona in the second leg of their UEFA Europa League round of 32 tie.
Following a 2 – 2 draw at the Spotify Camp Nou, Manchester United fought to a 2 – 1 win in front of their fans at Old Trafford to knock the Catalans out of Europe this season.
Robert Lewandowski opened the scoring for Barcelona from the penalty spot in the first half before Fred and Antony equalised and scored the winner in the second half. Excellent defensive work from both sides saw that no more mistakes were made and the game closed off with a historic win for Manchester United.
It was their first victory over Barcelona in six games, a run which saw them lose four times in five games since they last beat the Catalans in 2008. It was also their fourth victory against the Spanish giants in 15 meetings.
The LaLiga leaders had all the momentum going into the game thanks to recent history between both teams. However, Manchester United under Erik ten Hag has proven to be able to bounce back from disappointment this season, and that is exactly what they did against their visitors.
Speaking after the game, club captain Bruno Fernandes thanked the fans for their push as they fought back to seal their most famous victory this season.
“As I’ve said they’ve [the fans] been with us in the toughest moments,” Fernandes told BT Sport after the game. “This season we have been good, we’ve been really good, also because they are always behind us.
“This is something different, you can feel it between them and us, we have something special because they see that we are doing all we can to win games for them. Old Trafford was bouncing, that’s why we get the result.
“When you get the goal straight after the second half starts you know they will be behind us. It was just a matter of time to score the second goal.”
Fernandes also reflected on his error which led to Barcelona’s opener.
The Portugal international brought down Barcelona’s Alejandro Balde in the penalty box, gifting Lewandowski the chance to convert from the spot for the opener.
“Nothing I can say will change it now but I think it was too soft – both of us were trying to win the position,” he said. “Both of us using the hands, but it is what it is. I don’t want to make comments because after they will say I was disrespectful and I will be punished by that so they are always right, I can do nothing about that.”
They will know their round of 16 opponents on Friday when the draws take place. Either of Union Saint-Gilloise, Freiburg, Ferencvaros, Feyenoord, Real Betis, Real Sociedad or Fenerbahce could be their opponents.
The club’s fans on social media are looking forward to a rematch with Real Sociedad following their tussle in the group stages of the competition. Whatever happens, United will be in the running for English football’s first quadruple.
They could win the first of four trophies when they take on Newcastle United on Sunday in the final of the Carabao Cup. They are currently five points behind Premier League leaders Arsenal, and are still very much involved in the FA Cup.