Six talking points from Man Utd vs Club Brugge

Manchester United romped into the last 16 of the Europa League with a goal blitz to destroy Club Bruges.

United made a blistering start but despite Bruno Fernandes hitting the post with a fierce 3rd minute drive it took until the 27th minute for United to finally beat defiant Belgian keeper Simon Mingolet.

Fernandes gave United the lead with a trademark penalty after Simon Deli – red carded by referee Dutch referee Serdar Gozubuyuk – bizarrely dived full length to save a goal-bound Dan James shot.

United took control soon after with a goal on his full debut from on-loan striker Odion Ighalo while Scott McTominay added a third before half time.

Brazilian Fred added a fourth late in the game as United cruised to an easy victory ahead of their trip to Everton on Sunday.

1. Bruno Fernandes

It's not taken Portuguese midfielder Fernandes long – but he's already on his way to becoming a United legend.

Just 28 days after his £47million move from Sporting Lisbon Fernandes already has a place in the hearts of United fans after making an immediate and desperately needed impact.

The 25-year-old star scored his second penalty in five days with his trademark hop and jump and had a hand in both of United's other first half goals against Club Bruges.

Fernandes looks born to play for United – and in his four games so far hasn't yet been on the losing side for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's stars.

2. Odion Ighalo


Eyebrows were raised when Nigerian striker Ighalo beat the January transfer deadline to sign for United on-loan from Shanghai Greenland Shenhua.

And the African star can hardly believe his luck either becoming the first Nigerian to play for United.

The former Watford and Granada attacker has hardly had a stellar career but he's been welcomed at United with open arms.

And he marked his full Old Trafford debut with a goal to send his army of fans in Nigeria into social media meltdown.

He celebrated the moment by remembering his sister Mary who tragically died in December at her home in Canada.

Ighalo lifted his United jersey to reveal a picture of his sister before he was mobbed by team-mates.

3. Scott McTominay


The Scottish international midfielder brings youth, energy and commitment to United's midfield and there's no doubt they missed all those assets while he was out injured.

McTominay,23, started his first game since injuring a knee in the win against Newcastle on Boxing Day – and he marked it with a fine goal to give United a 3-0 half time lead against Bruges.

He picked his spot perfectly to send a shot curling into the bottom corner of the Bruges net after a net 41st minute lay off from Brazilian midfielder Fred.

With Paul Pogba edging closer to a return United will be at full strength in midfield when the Frenchman is back.

But McTominay has no need to fear for his place – with his future at Old Trafford assured.

4. Eric Bailly

The Ivory Coast defender was tipped as a star in the making when he joined from Villarreal for £30million in 2016.

Serious injuries have wrecked his United career so far – but if he stays fit the 25-year-old African centre-back could be the ideal long term partner for Harry Maguire.

Bailly is still feeling his way back – but he has all the attributes to still be a top draw defender for United.

Fast and athletic – and with decent skill too after his flashy step-over at Chelsea – boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer must be hoping to get a sustained run of games from Bailly who has a bigger Old Trafford fan club than Swede Victor Lindelof.

5. Simon Mignolet


The Belgian keeper never had the total trust of Jurgen Klopp and opted for first team football rather than second fiddle to £66.8million Alisson.

So the experienced 31-year-old had a point to prove on his return to England – and until United scored he showed he's still a keeper with credibility.

Sadly the same can't go for his defenders who were rabbits caught in the headlights in the early stages – but Mignolet saved Bruges from a calamitous start.

He tipped a Bruno Fernandes drive onto the post, saved another from the Portuguese midfielder and beat out a Juan Mata shot all in the opening ten minutes before stopping a certain Odion Ighalo goal at 2-0.

But he had no chance with any of United's opening three first half goals by Fernandes, Ighalo or Scott McTominay.

6. Fred

Life's been tough at times for Fred since his £52 million move from Shakhtar Donetsk in 2018.

But the Brazilian has always fronted up even when things were going badly for him and the team – and now he's getting his rewards.

The South American star has been one of United's best performers this season and scored two late goals against Bruges to confirm his emergence as an influential midfielder under Ole Gunnar Soslkjaer.

His first was a tidy close range finish after a Jesse Lingard cut back after 81 minutes.

And he saved his best for last – a sweeping drive past Bruges keeper Simon Mignolet three minutes into added time to take the applause of Old Trafford.

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