By Rachel Steinberg, PA
Bruno Fernandes’ second-half volley was enough to maintain Manchester United’s revival with a second win of the week against Southampton at St Mary’s.
United, lifted by Monday’s morale-boosting 2-1 home win over Liverpool, were able to follow-up with another victory after starting the season with back-to-back Premier League defeats.
It was a tight affair throughout most of the contest, with both sides creating but unable to capitalise on chances in a goalless first half, before Fernandes fired home what turned out to be the winner 10 minutes after the break.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) August 27, 2022
Erik ten Hag made no changes from the starting XI against Liverpool, while Ralph Hasenhuttl made one change.
Che Adams, who came off the bench to bag a game-winning double against Leicester, started for Saints, who paid tribute to late midfielder David Armstrong with a 10th-minute standing ovation.
Neither side was able to muster any real chances in the first 10 minutes though United saw more of the ball.
The visitors worked their way up the pitch where Diogo Dalot found himself in possession at the right-hand corner of the area but sent his effort across the face of goal.
Mohamed Elyounoussi’s cross soon found Adam Armstrong, whose header was easily caught by David De Gea.
Soon after, Saints somehow escaped unscathed from an onslaught of United attackers, Gavin Bazunu first stopping an Anthony Elanga shot from close range before two successive attempts within seconds were cleared by Kyle Walker-Peters and Armel Bella-Kotchap.
The hosts settled in, Adams looking hungry for an opener and in good position to receive Elyounoussi’s cross but sent his attempt high, while Armel Bella-Kotchap skied his own effort soon after.
And Adams could not put the finishing touch on another attempt, sending a strike right at De Gea.
Christian Eriksen looked to manufacture an opener from the edge of the area, sending in a cross but unable to find anyone in a neon green away shirt available in the box to finish the job.
Adams, who looked dangerous throughout the half, had two more chances to get the hosts on the scoresheet before the break, first scuffing a right-footed effort from the right before bringing down a goal kick and sending the ball over the crossbar.
United were awarded a free kick for Joe Aribo’s foul on Scott McTominay but Romeo Lavia rose to meet it, sending the sides goalless into the break.
It was United who had the first chance after the restart, McTominay firing at a diving Bazunu who got his fingertips on the ball to parry it away.
The visitors finally broke the deadlock on 55 minutes when Dalot issued a pinpoint cross to Fernandes, in acres of space at the centre of the penalty area.
The Portuguese international wasted no time, sending a low, right-footed volley into the bottom left corner.
The hosts were never out of the match and nearly responded in the 65th minute when Armstrong sent a cross into the box from a tight angle and Joe Aribo rose to meet it, but De Gea reacted quickly to deny Saints an equaliser. Bella-Kotchap’s attempt to nod in the rebound was too high.
United substitute Ronaldo was brought down and had treatment but remained on the pitch. Ten Hag also brought on new signing Casemiro for the final 10 minutes.
Saints had a chance to level came through Bella-Kotchap in the 85th minute but he misfired, sending his effort over the crossbar, while Dalot was able to block Sekou Mara’s last-ditch bicycle kick in added time to seal the three points.