Man Utd fight back twice to beat Sheffield Utd late on

Victorious Manchester United players

Manchester United’s chaotic high-scoring form continued at Old Trafford as they came from behind twice to overcome spirited Sheffield United at Old Trafford.

Bruno Fernandes and Rasmus Hojlund struck in the final nine minutes to ensure the win.

Manchester United captain Fernandes followed up an excellent pinpoint 25-yard drive by hooking back the cross five minutes from time, that allowed Hojlund to score his first goal since February.

As in Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final against Coventry, it was a favourable outcome in the end for under-pressure manager Erik ten Hag.

But there are some staggering statistics to go with their recent results. In total, 27 goals have now been scored in their past five games. They have conceded and scored at least two in all of them.

In entertainment terms, it is sensational. However, there is zero sense of structure and it can only be wondered what new technical director Jason Wilcox made of it as he watched his first game in the Old Trafford directors’ box since his appointment was confirmed last week.

After railing against the media the day before the game, labelling coverage of the Coventry match “embarrassing” and “a disgrace”, Ten Hag’s team failed to follow up by convincing on the pitch.

Without a win since February and with only three in the league all season, Sheffield United led twice, through Jayden Bogle in the first half and Ben Brereton Diaz in the second.

The home side levelled each time, courtesy of Harry Maguire’s deft header and Fernandes’ penalty.

And Manchester United eventually claimed the points to move back into sixth spot.

Fernandes the saviour after Onana error

Ten Hag has faced problems of injury and form among his squad in recent weeks. Goalkeeper Andre Onana, during the turbulence, had been a reliable figure.

The Cameroon goalkeeper seemed to have put his poor early-season form behind him. His recent performances deserved credit, given that he has been standing behind one of the Premier League’s leakiest-ever defences in terms of shots allowed to the opposition. A defence that cannot push high has not allowed him to exhibit his full passing range, but he has generally done well.

Against Sheffield United, though, Onana had a moment to forget. In passing the ball towards Diogo Dalot from inside his own six-yard area, the goalkeeper allowed Jayden Bogle to charge on to it. The 23-year-old’s forceful burst took him to within shooting range, and he expertly drove his effort into the far corner.

On the touchline, Ten Hag looked like a lonely figure.

The Sheffield United fans had some fun at the Dutchman’s expense, as they reminded him they rarely win away from home. To be completely accurate, they have rarely won anywhere this season. The last of their previous three triumphs came at Luton in February.

It is this kind of damage Manchester United cannot stop inflicting on themselves, and it makes winning matches so much harder than necessary.

Even after Maguire had turned home Alejandro Garnacho’s cross to bring them level before the break, they still fell asleep in their own penalty area to gift Sheffield United the lead for a second time.

Fernandes, with two goals and an assist, stepped in to save them. His second, a brilliant 25-yard drive, was the highlight – but the industry that created Hojlund’s goal was worthy of praise as well.

The overall display is not a recipe for sustained success, although after the past few weeks, Ten Hag is probably just grateful to get the win.

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