Three things we learned when Manchester United won late against Fulham

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Manchester United went to Craven Cottage to face Fulham in the team’s final match before a long break in the World Cup.

Eric Ten Hag was keen to get his team back to winning ways after a crushing defeat to Aston Villa a week ago.

The Dutch boss has fielded a much-changed team compared to the one that lost last Sunday. Anthony Martial replaced Cristiano Ronaldo. The introduction of Anthony Elanga into the starting line-up meant that Bruno Fernandes returned to his beloved playmaker role, effectively sending Donny van de Beek to the bench.

Instead of the disqualified Diogo Dalot, Tyrell Malasia took the position of right defender.

Here are three things we learned from Manchester United’s last win over Fulham.

Encouraging first half
United had an encouraging first half at best. The team fell short of the dominant results they showed before the shock blow against Unai Emery’s Aston Villa in the last Premier League match.

To emphasize this, the Reds went to the break with less possession of the ball than the Cottagers in the first 45 minutes — 47% against 53% of Fulham.

Despite this, it was United who created the clearest moments in the first half. United scored seven shots on goal, four of which hit the target.

The breakthrough of the “red devils” occurred in the 14th minute, when the 14th number of the team, after a brilliant overhang by Fernandez, scored the ball into the net.

What was the brilliantly played goal of the team. Casemiro intercepted the ball in midfield before passing it to Martial. The Frenchman found Fernandes on the left side of the Fulham penalty area, and the Portuguese found Eriksen, who made no mistake from close range.

Martial had several more opportunities to strengthen United’s leadership, but he was unable to take advantage when it was necessary. He missed a brilliant chance when Rashford scored it, as well as another header after an exquisite Luke Shaw cross.

While Ten Hag would have been happy to go into the tunnel with an advantage, he would not have been pleased that his players allowed several Fulham incursions into United territory. Especially dangerous were Willian and former United midfielder Andreas Pereira, who constantly found empty seats on the right of the defense.

Ten Hag’s cry for help must be heard
Before the game, Ten Hag addressed the press and inadvertently issued a cry for help, which club officials cannot afford the luxury of ignoring.

The Dutch boss was able to name only eight players on the bench, and of them there were two goalkeepers.

Due to the lack of options, Ten Hag said, “We don’t have any more players available to help us today.”

Eric ten Hag on eight substitutions, including two goalkeepers: “Today we don’t have any more players who could help us.” [@Shamunhafez]

— UtdDistrict (@UtdDistrict) November 13, 2022

Due to the lack of a sufficient number of alternatives, the manager was forced to play with Elanga on the right. The academy graduate did not enter the game at all, and it is not surprising that he was taken out first.

Since Dalot was unavailable, Malasia, naturally a left-back, was deployed in the position of right wing-back. His lack of experience was used many times by the opposition, which organized most of its attacks from this side.

Malasia struggled with Willian, who had his own number throughout the game. Fulham equalised when Malasia, who had been pulled high on the pitch, was caught before a cross into the penalty area found former United striker Dan James for a simple touch.

On the eve of the winter window, the club should not miss the opportunity to replenish its ranks. It is necessary to buy a right defender and another attacking player, preferably a striker.

As in the case of Fulham, the lack of options forces Ten Haga to compromise with his style of play and make ineffective changes to his starting line-up, which greatly slows down the team.

Garnacho and De Gea: pros
In a game marked by United’s lack of clinical advantage in front of goal and resisting Fulham’s waves of pressure, especially in the second half, goalkeeper David de Gea and substitute Alejandro Garnacho played a major role.

De Gea made some heroic saves to keep Marco Silva’s players following what he did against West Ham.

When Garnacho came out, he changed the situation. His straightforwardness and threatening play made the untested and well-established Fulham defense think.

The Argentine could have been awarded a penalty when he was knocked down in the penalty area, but the referee ruled it out. So it was fitting that he came up with a winner for United at the end of the game with the last kick of the game.

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