Man Utd v Leeds Utd: Match in pictures
Manchester United star Daniel James has defended Bruno Fernandes for denying Scott McTominay a hat-trick against Leeds on Sunday. Both players scored braces as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side cruised to victory. And they’re now just five points behind Premier League leaders Liverpool with a game in hand.
United were too strong for Leeds in their Premier League showdown, scoring six on an afternoon of impressive attacking football.
McTominay scored two alone in the opening three minutes, with further goals from Fernandes (x2), James and Victor Lindelof giving them all three points.
Sitting in the Sky Sports studio, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink insisted Fernandes should have given the spot-kick to McTominay – with the Scot on a hat-trick at the time.
Yet James, speaking after the game, has defended his team-mate and claimed he was right to take it himself.
“It was beautiful from Scott, he won a lot of the 50-50s and drove through the middle,” he said.
“Obviously I think he probably wanted to take the pen.
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“But in that situation you’ve got to be professional and the penalty-taker is Bruno.”
Solskjaer was thrilled with his side’s performance, saying after the game: “That was fantastic from the first minute. We had a plan to get after them, go forwards when we had the ball and Scott McTominay got two goals in the first three minutes!
“We found a way of getting them going, Just imagine if there were 75,000 people in, it would have gone down in history as one of the great performances against Leeds.
“We had to earn the right by running as much as them, that’s a challenge. It could have been 12-4! It’s that kind of game.
“I enjoyed it, it was frantic, hectic. No matter what the score is they have a certain attitude or style, if they are 5-0 up or down.
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“We are not even at the halfway point, the league position is not something we look at, we look at the improvement of the team.
“Now we are getting fitter and stronger. Our fans needed that one.”
And he was particularly happy for James, adding: “The goal will give Dan James a lot of confidence too.
“He’s been biding his time, been patient, been working hard and he’s still as fit as a fiddle and I was very, very pleased for him.
“It’s 13 games into the season – we’re a work in progress.
“We’re getting better, we’re getting fitter and stronger but there’s still a few details to nail and let’s talk about the title later on.”
Meanwhile, Leeds boss Marco Bielsa cut a dejected figure and said: “We could have come back throughout the game, there was always opportunities to come back into it.
“We lacked efficiency, they scored their opportunities and we didn’t. In the second half we played on an even keel until the 80th minute. After that they created chances easier than we could.
“At half time the changes were to give more energy in midfield and recover more balls in the middle of the pitch. We were losing by a big margin and I wanted us to strengthen.
“We fought all game, that’s an obligation.”
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