Football

We can do a lot better, says Bruno Fernandes after narrow win

Man United get first EPL home win this season with victory over WBA, who have penalty call overturned

Bruno Fernandes said Manchester United have the quality to do "much better" after his twice-taken penalty saw off lowly West Bromwich Albion 1-0 to end a run of six games without an English Premier League win at Old Trafford.

The Portuguese midfielder got a second chance after goalkeeper Sam Johnstone had saved his first spot-kick, but came off his line in doing so.

United also got a break at the other end moments earlier when a penalty given for a foul by Fernandes on Conor Gallagher was overturned after a video assistant referee (VAR) review.

"First it was very important to win the game, not because it's the first win at Old Trafford, but because we need the points," Fernandes told BT Sport.

"We can do much better, we have the qualities to do much better."

Just as in United's Champions League win at Paris Saint-Germain last month, Fernandes made the most of his reprieve after seeing his first spot-kick saved after the goalkeeper came off his line.

But he was still frustrated at missing a third penalty this season, albeit two were retaken, after a perfect record with his first 10 for United.

"OK, I scored the second one but I need to score the first one," added Fernandes.

Victory moves Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men up to 10th.

However, there was little to appease the unease over where the Red Devils are headed under Solskjaer as West Brom threatened to collect their first league win since returning to the top flight.

West Brom have now scored just once in their last six games, but Slaven Bilic was left fuming at the game-changing decision not to award his side a penalty early in the second half.

Fernandes looked to have caught Gallagher inside the area when referee David Coote pointed to the spot. But he infuriated Bilic by overturning the call after reviewing the incident on the pitchside monitor.

"Throughout the whole second half, I felt like small West Brom. All those crucial decisions went against us," said the Croat.

"The penalty against Gallagher is a clear penalty. The other penalty, with the new rules, it's handball. But before the handball it was a clear foul on Gallagher.

"Instead of 1-0 for us, it is 1-0 for them. It's a huge difference."

Even Solskjaer admitted he thought the Baggies' penalty should have stood.

"There is contact on the ball and the man. In my head, it might be a penalty, but maybe the rules are different to how I interpret them," he said.

Former United defender Rio Ferdinand called the overturned penalty "a disgrace", saying on BT Sport: "It's a disgraceful decision.

"He got it right first time. It's a nailed-on penalty. How can he go against his own decision on that? The game's been taken from under West Brom's noses. That was so clear."

Former EPL and Fifa referee Peter Walton added: "I don't think the VAR should have got involved. By asking the referee to go over to the pitchside monitor, they're inferring that he's made a mistake."

However, fellow ex-EPL and Fifa referee Dermot Gallagher said on Sky Sports: "When I first saw it, I thought it was a penalty, when I saw it again, I didn't think it was a penalty.

"Fernandes gets enough of the ball. I also think Conor Gallagher goes down too easily... minimal contact, I can't see why he goes down like that." - AFP

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