Manchester United star Bruno Fernandes said strength in depth is behind the club's unbeaten run after his brace helped see off Brighton and Hove Albion.

Fernandes scored twice as in-form United outclassed Brighton 3-0 in the Premier League on Tuesday to stretch their undefeated streak to 15 matches across all competitions.

After Mason Greenwood's opening strike, January recruit and former Sporting CP captain Fernandes stole the show with goals in the 29th and 50th minutes at the Amex Stadium.

United have gone eight Premier League games without defeat to be fifth and two points adrift of Chelsea – who face West Ham on Wednesday – with six matches remaining in the Champions League qualification race.

"In the last games, before the stop, Scotty [McTominay] and Fred played very well and we have a lot of good results," Fernandes, who has scored five goals in eight league appearances, told MUTV.

"Now it's Nema [Matic], Paul [Pogba] and me, sometimes Andy [Pereira] or Juan [Mata] can play no.10, or Jesse [Lingard] - we have a lot of qualities and I don't think it is fair on the guys who are out to just talk about me and Paul.

"We have so much quality and this becomes higher because we train together and we push [each other]. I know if I'm not okay, another player will play. So I need to be at my best on the training field.

"I need to be better and better to help the team. Everyone thinks the same way and that's why we are playing this way and the results are coming. We know we need to give our best because we have such good quality."

United have not tasted defeat since losing 2-0 to Burnley in January – keeping 11 clean sheets – and Portuguese midfielder Fernandes added: "You need to be focused and give everything for the team, for the club.

"I think everyone here knows that we represent a big team, so we need to give our best and to push forward and to keep trying.

"This is what the players are doing now - that’s fantastic. It doesn't matter if we are tired, other guys are coming in and playing such a good game.

"They can bring more intensity because they are fresh, so we know we can give everything and if you are tired, you can come out. Now we have five changes this is better for us. The most important thing is the result at the end."

Manchester United's willingness to defend as a unit has been key to their recent success, according to manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

The Red Devils have been in superb form since football resumed after the enforced break caused by the coronavirus pandemic, claiming seven points from their three Premier League games and beating Norwich City in an FA Cup semi-final.

Their latest win came on Tuesday, as a fine Mason Greenwood goal and two strikes from Bruno Fernandes sealed a 3-0 league win over Brighton and Hove Albion at the Amex Stadium that moved United back into fifth, two points behind Chelsea in fourth.

That result means United have conceded just twice in their last eight Premier League games, with Solskjaer keen to stress it is because of a concerted effort from the whole side and not just the defence.

"You can see with the quality of the talent we have going forward that we have a foundation to play from," he told a media conference. "We have a good shape, do good pressing and have a back four that's used to each other.

"There's lots of reasons behind the clean sheets, which is the foundation for any good team.

"We know that we are 11 men attacking and defending – we defend from the front. We know how difficult it is to play Brighton and to stop them getting into a rhythm. We have a screen in front of the back four, which is difficult to get past. We're very happy with the shape and intensity."

Solskjaer is pleased with United's form since the return to action but is keen not to get carried away, given they are a whopping 34 points behind champions Liverpool.

"It's been good since the restart," he added. "We agreed what we wanted to do and we have come back fitter and stronger and we are ready to challenge.

"We have many games coming up we will keep changing, players are getting better and sharper and we have players who had a fantastic season who haven't played.

"We are too far behind to be on the road to something special [this season] but the team is improving. We are still in the FA Cup, Europa League and in the race for the Champions League."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has described Mason Greenwood as a "special kid" following his superb display in Manchester United's 3-0 Premier League win over Brighton and Hove Albion on Tuesday.

United cranked up the pressure on fourth-place Chelsea with an effortless win at the Amex Stadium, with Greenwood getting them on their way early on.

That was followed by two Bruno Fernandes strikes – the second of which was superbly set up by Greenwood after a flowing counter attack.

Solskjaer was full of praise for the 18-year-old and says he is destined for a bright future.

"Mason's first goal was brilliant and he played fantastically," he told Sky Sports. "He's a special kid, we know when he gets faced up he looks dangerous. His link up play was great today.

"He's got a knack of that. He can go inside or outside and he is developing into a fine player."

Solskjaer was also fulsome in his praise of Fernandes, who took his tally to five goals in eight Premier League games following his January move from Sporting CP.

The 25-year-old has quickly become an instrumental figure for the Red Devils and his boss is delighted with his "winning mentality".

"We have some top players and Bruno has come and been fantastic," he told BBC Sport. "He has brought that winning mentality with him; that 99 per cent is not good enough – it has to be 100 per cent."

Bruno Fernandes insists Manchester United can secure a top-four finish in the Premier League this season.

The Portuguese was in scintillating form on Tuesday, scoring twice as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side ran out 3-0 winners over Brighton and Hove Albion at the Amex Stadium.

The result moves United two points behind fourth-placed Chelsea, who play their game in hand against West Ham on Wednesday.

Fernandes – who has now scored five goals in his first eight Premier League games for the club since his January move from Sporting CP – is unfazed by a potential five-point gap with just six games to play and remains confident they can secure Champions League football for next season.

"We are fighting for a place in the Champions League and we know we can achieve this," he told Sky Sports.

"The most important thing is the three points but we played well and the result was good. We didn't concede again, which is important.

"We knew that we needed to push forwards and to try and score from minute one. I was lucky with the first goal and the second goal was amazing, an amazing pass from Mason [Greenwood]."

Paul Pogba teed up Fernandes for his first goal but the 25-year-old did not want to single out the French World Cup winner for specific praise.

"I don't want to talk too much about me and Paul Pogba," he added.

"We are happy to play together but I am happy to play with everyone. We can combine together, we have qualities, but we know that we have team-mates who can do well."

Manchester United's push for a top-four spot continued on Tuesday as they cruised to a 3-0 win over Brighton and Hove Albion at the Amex Stadium.

United wasted little time stamping their authority on the game as strikes from Mason Greenwood and Bruno Fernandes put them two up before the half-hour mark.

Greenwood was the provider for Fernandes' second after 50 minutes as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side made it eight games unbeaten in the Premier League.

The result moved United up to fifth, two points behind Chelsea, although they have played a game more. Brighton, meanwhile, remained in 15th, six points above the relegation zone.

United started on the front foot, with Fernandes crashing a long-range effort against the post after 12 minutes.

They did not have to wait long to open the scoring, though, Greenwood surging into the penalty area, bamboozling Lewis Dunk with a series of stepovers and clipping a smart finish past Mat Ryan at his near post in the 16th minute. 

That advantage was doubled in the 29th minute when Fernandes' strike from 20 yards took a wicked deflection off Alexis Mac Allister to wrongfoot Ryan.

A devastating counter attack led to United's third five minutes after the restart, Greenwood picking out Fernandes at the back post with a sumptuous cross, with the Portuguese volleying past a helpless Ryan from eight yards.

Substitute Leandro Trossard twice flashed efforts wide after the hour mark, while David de Gea tipped over Aaron Connolly's strike as Brighton belatedly woke from their slumber.

Graham Potter's men failed to score a consolation, though, as United strolled to the most comfortable of away wins. 

 

What does it mean? New-look United taking shape

Big things were expected from Fernandes when he joined from Sporting CP in January and he has not disappointed. Not only has he proven to be a potent goal threat – his brace took his tally to five goals in eight Premier League games – but he has elevated those around him.

United have been insipid in attack for so long but with Fernandes conducting an exciting forward line, fans might dare to dream of a title push in the coming seasons.  

Greenwood continues to sparkle

The 18-year-old has enjoyed a superb breakout season for United and once again showed why he is such an exciting talent. It is testament to his prodigious ability that he slots in so seamlessly alongside seasoned internationals like Paul Pogba, Marcus Rashford and Fernandes.

Lewis slam Dunk-ed by Reds

The Seagulls captain endured a game to forget. He offered little resistance to Greenwood for United's first and failed to effectively marshal his defence throughout.

What's next?

United will be confident of securing a third consecutive Premier League win when a struggling Bournemouth visit Old Trafford on Saturday, while Brighton travel to Norwich City on the same day.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer expects Marcus Rashford to soon be back among the goals for Manchester United.

England forward Rashford has 22 goals for club and country this season, although he is yet to find the net since top-flight football resumed from its coronavirus hiatus.

United's return to Premier League action at Tottenham was Rashford's first appearance since suffering a double stress fracture of his back.

Although the 22-year-old supplied a pair of assists for Anthony Martial in last week's 3-0 victory against Sheffield United, he also spurned a pair of glorious chances to get on the scoresheet.

After that match, Solskjaer urged his team to be more clinical as a collective, but he has no concerns over Rashford individually.

"Of course Marcus has been out for a while but I think he's looked sharp, he came on and looked sharp against Norwich," the United boss said ahead of Tuesday's trip to Brighton and Hove Albion.

"Against Sheffield United he missed one or two chances but the goals he created is what we're focusing on and he's on his way to his best season ever.

"I'm looking forward to him getting more minutes and he'll definitely score a goal soon."

Rashford appeared as a substitute after the hour as Norwich City took United to extra-time in Saturday's FA Cup quarter-final at Carrow Road, with captain Harry Maguire proving a more unlikely matchwinner in the 118th minute.

A semi-final encounter against Chelsea awaits with United the form team in England – their unbeaten run stretching back 14 games to a mid-January reverse against Burnley at Old Trafford.

"The players are working really hard and want to do as well as they can and, for me, as a team we're trying to implement our ideas," Solskjaer said.

"Talk about 14 games, we can talk about the next one - go into the next game knowing you've won the previous game. It's a good place to be in."

United are firmly in the hunt for a top-four finish and victory at Brighton would move them level on points with Wolves in fifth and two shy of four-placed Chelsea – albeit having played a game more than Frank Lampard's Blues.

"I think every year you're in the Champions League is a great experience, for the players it's a step forward," Solskjaer added.

"For us it's what we're striving to do, winning trophies, and we need to focus on one game at a time and there are so many teams that want that place.

"We can't get distracted about looking too far ahead and onto the next one."

Neal Maupay was in the spotlight again as he missed a penalty in Brighton and Hove Albion's 0-0 draw at Leicester City. 

The French forward was involved in a clash with Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno and then scored a last-gasp winner in Saturday's 2-1 victory over the Gunners. 

But he was denied from the spot on Tuesday, Kasper Schmeichel making the save in the 14th minute after James Justin had fouled Aaron Connolly. 

The Seagulls are six points clear of the Premier League's bottom three, with the Foxes' gap to fifth-placed Manchester United now nine points. 

Matteo Guendouzi will face no further action over an incident involving Neal Maupay at the end of Arsenal's 2-1 defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday.

Arsenal midfielder Guendouzi appeared to grab Maupay by the throat and push him to the ground following the final whistle at the Amex Stadium.

The Football Association (FA) revealed the incident, not seen by referee Martin Atkinson, was checked by the video assistant referee (VAR).

"Matteo Guendouzi's conduct during this incident was not seen by the match officials at the time, but it was subsequently reviewed by the VAR, so he will face no further action," an FA statement read,

The FA also warned the two clubs and reminded them of their responsibilities following the mass confrontation at the end of the match.

Maupay had scored a 95th-minute winner for relegation-threatened Brighton, who came from behind to win after Lewis Dunk cancelled out Nicolas Pepe's opener.

The French striker fouled Bernd Leno during an aerial challenge in the first half and the Arsenal goalkeeper was taken off on a stretcher with what appeared to be a serious knee injury.

Maupay apologised to Gunners boss Mikel Arteta at half-time and insisted he had not intended to hurt Leno.

Asked what happened at the end of the match, Maupay told the BBC: "Some of their players need to learn what humility is, especially one of them.

"I mean he was talking the whole game but was saying really bad things. I don't want to say what he said because I could be in trouble – it was in French because he is French.

"So when I scored I just needed to say, 'Listen, that's what happens when you talk too much on the pitch.'"

Following back-to-back losses since the resumption of the Premier League, Arsenal will hope to get back to winning ways at Southampton on Thursday.

Mikel Arteta hit back at sniping from Neal Maupay but saved his most cutting criticism for Arsenal after they collapsed to defeat at Brighton and Hove Albion.

Brighton striker Maupay grabbed a fine stoppage-time goal to earn a 2-1 victory, after earlier being involved in a collision that saw Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno suffer a nasty knee injury.

Leno clearly felt Maupay was a villain of that piece, gesturing and shouting towards him while being carried off the pitch on a stretcher, with Arsenal not expecting to learn the extent of the German's injury until Sunday at the earliest.

Maupay became Brighton's last-gasp hero and then stressed he had not intended to hurt Leno, before delivering the jibe that rankled with Arteta when he claimed Arsenal's players "maybe need to learn humility".

"He can say whatever he wants," Arteta said. "I know my players and one aspect that they don't miss for sure is humility."

It appeared Arteta might have more sympathy with a subsequent suggestion from Maupay that Arsenal "got what they deserved".

"I think we did a lot of things today to win the game comfortably, but we haven't competed like you have to compete in the Premier League," Arteta said.

"We gave the first goal away and we lost a few important duels afterwards, so I think it's all our fault.

"I think they competed for large parts of the game, but in crucial moments when you don't, you pay the price and that's it. It's all my fault obviously because I'm the one that has to make sure they do."

Maupay was confronted by several Arsenal players at the end of the game.

Arteta blamed that reaction on "frustration because we've thrown the game away", saying he did not believe Brighton's French striker had set out to cause Leno any harm.

Rather than dwell on any sense of injustice, Arteta said Arsenal could not use Leno's injury as an excuse.

Instead he was looking closely at the focus of his players, and he bemoaned the fact they switched off late on and were punished.

Nicolas Pepe's impressive curling shot gave Arsenal a 68th-minute lead, but Lewis Dunk soon equalised, setting up the dramatic climax as the visitors let their guard down.

Arteta's team look certain to miss out on a Champions League place next season, and he rued the fact they had not competed to the final whistle.

"It's not the first time it has happened and if you want to win football games consistently at this level, it's a must and it's a non-negotiable," he said.

Quoted on Arsenal's official website, Arteta said Leno's injury looked like a hyperextension of the knee.

"He was in a lot of pain, but we will have to wait until tomorrow to see how bad the damage is," Arteta explained.

Mikel Arteta slammed Arsenal for an "unacceptable" 2-1 Premier League defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday.

The Gunners went ahead at Amex Stadium through a sublime Nicolas Pepe strike but were stunned by goals from Lewis Dunk and Neal Maupay.

Dunk scrambled the ball over the line after a quick Brighton corner before a 95th-minute winner from Maupay, who was involved in an earlier collision that saw Gunners goalkeeper Bernd Leno taken off on a stretcher.

It was Arsenal's second defeat in a week following their 3-0 loss to Manchester City on Wednesday and Arteta was far from happy with the way they failed to hold onto their earlier advantage.

"I am very frustrated," he told BBC Sport. "It is unacceptable the way we lost the game.

"We like competing and I know we have a young squad but still, we threw the game away. We had to put it to bed earlier."

Leno appeared very unhappy with Maupay as he was taken off in the first half and there was a scuffle on the pitch after the final whistle in which the Brighton striker was involved.

Arteta was not inclined to blame Maupay for his goalkeeper's injury but admitted the problem looks serious.

"I think it was very unfortunate," he said. "I don't think he wanted to hurt him. It is not looking good. We have to fight and be positive; tomorrow is a different day.

"I think the players that came on today did really well, we did more than enough to win the game comfortably, but we leave with zero points again.

"I think this was a very different one to the one against Manchester City. When you give cheap goals like we did in this one you will suffer."

Emiliano Martinez, who replaced Leno in goal, also criticised his team-mates for "switching off" at the worst moments.

"We switched off and when you switch off in the Premier League you get punished," he said.

He added on Leno: "I spoke to him at half time and he felt he twisted his knee. As a goalkeeper, you do not want him to get injured. It is a big loss to the team.

"I don't think he [Maupay] tried to injure him. He went for the ball like any striker would do and this is football. It can happen.

"You train hard and have to wait for your chance. I am more than ready."

Brighton and Hove Albion boss Graham Potter has wished Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno a speedy recovery after he suffered a horror injury at the Amex Stadium.

Potter's side stunned the Gunners as they came from behind to record a last-gasp 2-1 Premier League victory on Saturday.

Neal Maupay won it in the fifth minute of stoppage time, having previously fouled Leno in the first half, an incident that left the keeper screaming in pain following a bad landing.

Leno remonstrated with Maupay as he was taken off on a stretcher five minute before half-time with what looked to be a serious knee injury.

But Potter believes the two players were battling honestly for the ball.

"Obviously I was quite some way away for it," Potter said to BT Sport when he was asked about the incident.

"It looked like two players going for the ball. We wish him a speedy recovery. It is not something we want to see."

He continued in an interview with BBC Sport: "It looked like it was just momentum going towards him. Neal is a determined character and his work for the team is incredible.

"It is unfortunate and you don't want to see anyone get injured and our thoughts go to [Leno] but it doesn't look too malicious."

Brighton were trailing to Nicolas Pepe's sublime strike before Lewis Dunk equalised with 15 minutes remaining.

With the game seemingly poised to end level, Maupay raced on to a clever flicked pass from substitute Aaron Connolly to produce a classy finish.

It was a win that moved Albion five points clear of the bottom three, with the Gunners' Champions League hopes in tatters after two straight defeats since the restart.

"It is a massive goal for Neal and reward for his working tirelessly for the team," added Potter. "It was a nice goal in the end and worthy to win a game of football.

"He sacrifices himself a lot and this is still his first season in the Premier League. He works hard every day and we are very proud of him.

"I am really pleased for [Dunk]. He has led us really well over a tricky period. He is an important player for us and I'm delighted that he could contribute with a goal.

"You could see the fight we had. You have to work hard to turn the small margins in your favour. Regardless of the table, we have to keep fighting.

"Every three points in the Premier League is massive. It is nice to get off to a good start. It gives us a little bit of a foundation to build on."

Mikel Arteta must be wishing the Premier League's return had been put off by another week as this has been about as bad a restart as he could have feared to endure.

Two games, two defeats, five goals conceded and three more injuries, two of them serious, to add to a growing treatment list. It has all made for a miserable few days.

The Gunners are six points behind fifth-placed Manchester United and will be 11 adrift of the top four if Chelsea win at Aston Villa on Sunday. Victories for Burnley and Crystal Palace will see them drop to 11th in the Premier League table.

As a Champions League return slips further from their grasp, Arteta can be under no illusions: his team are a long way short of the quality required to compete at Europe's highest level.

The injuries to Granit Xhaka and Pablo Mari against Manchester City, and David Luiz's red card, were misfortunes Arteta could not have seen coming but the performance at the Etihad Stadium was still alarmingly meek for a team with aspirations of competing with the champions sooner rather than later.

Similarly, no amount of preparation from the Gunners head coach could have softened the blow of seeing Bernd Leno carried off on a stretcher in the first half against Brighton and Hove Albion, the goalkeeper having apparently done some serious knee damage after colliding with Neal Maupay.

The trouble is Arsenal's inability to respond to setbacks. They were accused of having a soft underbelly long before Arteta replaced Unai Emery in December, but the former Man City assistant has not yet managed to address the problem.

Brighton started the day as the only team without a Premier League win in 2020 and with just two in all competitions since early November, one of which came at Emirates Stadium, but they were a match for Arsenal throughout.

The visitors threatened fleetingly through Nicolas Pepe, Bukayo Saka, Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, but Mat Ryan kept at bay anything they threw his way.

Aubameyang's one and only clear chance was finished with aplomb but chalked off for offside, his resigned expression as he jogged back into position a fitting one for a top-class forward who is wondering whether his remaining peak years would be better spent elsewhere.

Arsenal finally produced a moment of genuine quality when Saka found Pepe, who cut onto his left foot and curled a sublime shot over Ryan's head. It was his seventh Gunners goal – his first outside London – and brought Saka to 11 assists for the season. These two, at least, appear to be getting better as the 2019-20 campaign stretches onwards.

But few consider a win to be safely in Arsenal's hands when the scoreline reads 1-0, and so it proved again. They fell asleep at a corner and Lewis Dunk squirmed the ball over the line for the 13th goal Arteta's men have conceded from set-pieces in the league this season.

As a draw seemed safe, Maupay completed his villainous turn, dummying a pass to Aaron Connolly, collecting the return and finishing past Emiliano Martinez as the clock reached 94 minutes and 26 seconds.

Arsenal were furious when the final whistle went just after they had won a corner, probably showing more determination in those fruitless appeals to referee Martin Atkinson than at any stage of the match. Their season is fizzling out fast and it is hard to see any quick fix that will let them close the gap to the best in England and Europe.

Neal Maupay claimed Arsenal "got what they deserved" after he struck the winner deep into stoppage time having earlier clashed with Gunners goalkeeper Bernd Leno.

The Brighton and Hove Albion forward proved a controversial hero for the hosts, who secured a vital 2-1 victory at the Amex Stadium to move five points clear of the Premier League relegation zone on Saturday.

Maupay was involved in a grim first-half incident, where a coming together with Leno ended with the German suffering a nasty-looking knee injury.

Arsenal, beaten 3-0 by Manchester City on Wednesday, appeared set to shrug that off when Nicolas Pepe scored a fine goal in the 68th minute.

But Lewis Dunk levelled soon after and Maupay had the final say in the 95th minute, which he felt was fitting against a side he claims lack humility, though he wished Leno a swift recovery and insisted malice played no part in the challenge.

"At half-time I went to the manager Mikel Arteta to apologise," Maupay told BT Sport. 

"I never meant to injure the keeper. I jumped for the ball. I apologise to the team and to him as well. I have been through a bad injury, it is hard.

"Arsenal players maybe need to learn humility sometimes. They were talking a lot. They got what they deserved.

"I just went to get the ball really. When he landed he twisted his knee. It is football, there is contact. I never meant to hurt him. I apologise again and wish him a speedy recovery."

The result has afforded Graham Potter's side some breathing space, but Maupay knows there is plenty of work still to come.

"It is just a win, we have eight games to go – some very big games," he added.

"Anything can happen and we need to stay focus. It is a good start, we are really happy but we need to get straight back in tomorrow to focus on the next game."

Neal Maupay was a controversial hero as relegation-threatened Brighton and Hove Albion came from behind to earn a 2-1 win over Arsenal at the Amex Stadium.

Maupay was at the centre of a grim first-half incident, where a coming together with Bernd Leno resulted in the Arsenal goalkeeper suffering a serious-looking knee injury.

Arsenal hit the front through a sumptuous Nicolas Pepe strike in the 68th minute but lackadaisical defending from a short corner worked by Solly March and Yves Bissouma allowed Lewis Dunk to equalise seven minutes later.

In the fifth minute of stoppage time, Maupay darted on to a clever lofted pass from substitute Aaron Connolly to produce a similarly classy finish – moving Albion five points clear of the bottom three and leaving the Gunners' Champions League hopes in tatters.

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