Manchester United cruised into the last 16 of the UEFA Europa League with a comfortable 6-1 aggregate win over 10 man Club Brugge, winning 5-0 at Old Trafford.
With the game finely poised at 1-1 after last weeks first leg, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sent out a relatively strong side for their second encounter, January loan signing Odion Ighalo making his first start for the club.
However, it was his fellow January arrival, Bruno Fernandes, who once again bossed proceedings, the Portuguese having a hand in all of Manchester United’s opening three goals.
The midfielder netted his second penalty within four days after Simon Deli was shown a straight red for an acrobatic handball, the 25-year-old United midfielder dispatching the resulting spot-kick past former Liverpool keeper, Simon Mignolet.
United went in at the break 3-0 up, Ighalo tapping home a Juan Mata cutback, before the returning Scott McTominay stroked the ball home from the edge of the box.
With the tie all but over, it was a much slower second half, though United midfielder Fred would add a gloss to the scoreline, netting two late goals for the Red Devils to finish the Belgian side off.
Bruno Fernandes’ game by numbers vs. Club Brugge:
48 passes in opp.half
5 total duels
3 chances created
3 shots on target
Another brilliant display. pic.twitter.com/QbCBOL4gKf
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) February 27, 2020
Speaking after seeing his side book their place in the last 16, Solskjaer was pleased with his sides attacking ‘intent’.
“The football we played at times pleased me the most,” the Norwegian told BT Sport. “We started the game with great intent. We were playing with good rhythm and intent in our game and we got some great goals as well.”
Solskjaer was also impressed with what he saw from January arrival and boyhood Man Utd fan, Odion Ighalo, who showed good linkup play throughout his full debut for the club.
“He plays up front, he can play with his back to goal and the goal was a good example of what you want of him. He can hold up the ball and he is what we have been lacking a little bit.”
“If we hadn’t had Odion tonight then Mason Greenwood would have had to play and we have a game on Sunday and that would put us in a tired position. We knew what we got when we signed him.”
United have now won three of their four games since the winter break, scoring 11 and conceding just once in that time.
“We are not conceding goals which is so important but we played today the way we want to play,” Solskjaer said about the clubs recent upturn in performances and results.
“The players are smiling, they are playing with confidence and that is what we want. The new lads have brought that in.”