Solskjaer gets response as Man Utd beats Everton 3-1 in EPL

LIVERPOOL, England (AP) — Ole Gunnar Solskjaer got the response he demanded from his Manchester United players as Bruno Fernandes scored twice and Edinson Cavani netted late in a come-from-behind 3-1 win at Everton in the Premier League on Saturday.

The United manager acknowledged ahead of the game at Goodison Park that he was under pressure after tame losses to Arsenal in the league and Istanbul Basaksehir in the Champions League over the last week, and Solskjaer saw Everton take the lead in the 19th minute through Bernard.

However, United’s apparent tactic of overloading Everton’s right side paid off with both of Fernandes’ first-half goals coming from that flank.

The 25th-minute equalizer arrived when left back Luke Shaw had time and space to send over a cross that was met with a header from Fernandes from 12 yards (meters), the Portugal playmaker’s usual scoring range given he is a frequent converter of penalties for United.

Fernandes then gave United the lead in slightly fortuitous circumstances in the 32nd when he aimed a curling cross to Marcus Rashford in the center of the penalty area, only to see the ball evade his teammate’s head and drift into the net off the far post.

Cavani, on as an 82nd-minute substitute, scored his first goal for United in the fifth minute of stoppage time following a counterattack led by Fernandes.

Solskjaer praised the character of his players, then launched a tirade at United being asked to play in a lunchtime kickoff on Saturday after an away match in Turkey in the Champions League on Wednesday evening.

“Authorities set us up to fail,” Solskjaer said, noting that Manchester City and Liverpool were playing each other on Sunday having both played Champions League games on Tuesday.

“Who is responsible? We’ve had enough of that. I’ve had enough. We have to understand how, in these times (in a) pandemic, mentally draining, physically draining this is. And you set them up like this.”

United saw Shaw limp off with a hamstring injury in the second half, while Rashford finished the game with a shoulder problem.

While United has yet to win at home in the league — the main reason it came into the game in 15th place — the team has now won all three of its away games. Fernandes has scored in each of them.

Everton, meanwhile, has lost three straight games after having started the campaign with four wins in a row. All of the defeats have come while the team’s big attacking threat down the left — Brazil forward Richarlison — has been suspended because of a red card against Liverpool.

A major factor behind the loss to United was Everton’s problems down its right, with full back Seamus Coleman often left all alone to handle the raids down that wing by Rashford and Shaw, while Fernandes also popped up there on occasions.

The back-tracking of James Rodriguez, Everton’s right-sided attacker, left a lot to be desired and it was only when the Colombian came into a central area midway through the second half that he really had an impact.

United had a good shout for a penalty turned down in the second half when Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford dropped the ball from a free kick and then hacked at the knee of Harry Maguire as the center back tried to turn the loose ball into the net.

The incident revived memories of Pickford’s challenge on Virgil van Dijk last month which left the Liverpool defender with a serious knee injury that could keep him out for the rest of the season. Maguire wasn’t hurt, though, and no foul was given by the match officials.

Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti bemoaned his team’s poor defending as a team.

“We have to improve,” he said. “I hope that after the international break, we will be back in a different shape. It is not only a problem of the defenders, it is all of the team.”

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