Player Ratings, Reaction and Highlights : Fulham 1-2 Manchester United

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Manchester United claimed another come-from-behind victory at Craven Cottage to go back to the top of the Premier League.

Less than five minutes gone, Fulham exploited the offside trap; Wan-Bissaka was the guilty party as he was slightly behind his team-mates. Lookman had plenty of time, with Pogba and Maguire flat-footed in the middle hoping that he was off, and he was able to finish with fair conviction across De Gea.

Three minutes later, Fred was taken from behind by Loftus-Cheek in the box – Martin Atkinson waved play on, and Kevin Friend felt there was no need to pull play back.

United have been behind in most of their away games this season, so there was no need to panic – especially when Bruno Fernandes is on the pitch. Before the game Solskjaer was forced to rubbish the idea of Fernandes being tired, and the player proved the point midway through the first half.

First he hit the post with a long range strike, and as Fulham failed to clear their lines, Fernandes put the cross in – Areola in goal spilled the ball and Cavani tapped it in.

A minute after the equaliser, Fernandes had another shot from range – this time Areola was equal to it and tipped it wide.

United were better after levelling it up but couldn’t get a second before half time; Fulham, to their own credit, kept looking for another goal, and almost caught Wan-Bissaka out again.

It was a patient second half which brought a sizeable reward in the 64th minute when Paul Pogba hit a stunning effort from the left-hand side of the box – it was just starting to feel as though the Frenchman might be struggling with being back in a midfield two when he hit his wonder goal.

Cavani almost hit the hosts where it hurt when getting on to a Fernandes cross a minute later, but his header was well saved.

With fifteen minutes to go, Loftus-Cheek found space between Maguire and Shaw, but De Gea was equal to this effort from a similar distance to the goal he conceded. In the 84th minute, Loftus-Cheek fired another effort over from a similar range.

Fulham pushed for a late equaliser and Wan-Bissaka had to be alert to make a good block on Lookman; United held out to go top.

Whatever happens from here on out, it feels as though this United team are building something of their own to be proud of instead of being burdened by the weight of the badge on their shirt.

Selection

The biggest call was not to rest Fernandes; there could be no questioning the rest of the side. It was sensible to rest and choose as the manager did. It was also sensible to start Fernandes, considering the influence he had on the turnaround.

Ratings

De Gea 7

Wan-Bissaka 7

Bailly 7

Maguire 7

Shaw 7

Fred 8

Pogba 8

Fernandes 8

Martial 5

Cavani 8

Greenwood 6

Subs

McTominay

Rashford

Matic

Wayne Barton

Wayne is a writer and producer. His numerous books on Manchester United include the authorised biography of Jimmy Murphy. He wrote and produced the BT Sport film 'Too Good To Go Down'. In 2015 he was described by the Independent as the 'leading writer on Manchester United' and former club chairman Martin Edwards has described him as 'the pre-eminent writer on the club'.

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