Bruno Fernandes' fine performance in Manchester United's 3-0 win over Watford has earned him a first inclusion in FIFA Ultimate Team's Team of the Week since his move to Old Trafford.

Fernandes joined United from Sporting CP in January and has made a swift impact, his ability on the ball and positive mentality in possession adding much-needed impetus to the club's midfield.

The Portugal international got off the mark with a penalty – which he won – against Watford, while he also got himself an assist for Mason Greenwood's stunning strike, teeing the youngster up on the edge of the box.

His display earns him a spot alongside Robert Lewandowski – whose brace against Paderborn sees him receive an overall boost to 93 – and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Find the full squad below.

TEAM OF THE WEEK

GK: Aitor Fernandez (Levante) – 84

CB: Nicolas Pallois (Nantes) – 84

LB: Nacho Monreal (Real Sociedad) – 84

LB: Aleksandar Kolarov (Roma) – 87

CM: Koke (Atletico Madrid) – 86

CB: Dan-Axel Zagadou (Borussia Dortmund) – 82

CM: Fernando (Sevilla) – 84

LM: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal) – 89

CAM: Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United) – 88

ST: Jhon Cordoba (Cologne) – 84

ST: Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich) – 93

SUBSTITUTES

GK: Fernando Muslera (Galatasaray) – 84

LB: Patrick van Aanholt (Crystal Palace) – 81

CM: Christopher Nkunku (RB Leipzig) – 81

CM: Darwin Machis (Granada) – 81

RM: Adam Marusic (Lazio) – 81

ST: Loic Remy (Lille) – 81

ST: Mbaye Niang (Rennes) – 81

RESERVES

CAM: Sergio Pena (Emmen) – 78

CM: Lukas Gortler (St. Gallen) – 75

ST: Jonathan David (Gent) – 80

LF: Graham Burke (Shamrock Rovers) – 75

ST: Dominik Stroh-Engel (Unterhaching) – 74

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has conceded Manchester United could begin to suffer financially if they fail to qualify for next season's Champions League.

United missed out on this term's Champions League, instead progressing into the Europa League, with the Red Devils hosting Club Brugge at Old Trafford in the second leg of their last-32 tie on Thursday.

On Tuesday, the club released their latest financial figures, with revenue in the six months to December falling by nearly 12 per cent as a result of their absence from the Champions League. 

Following an upturn in form, Solskjaer's side have risen to fifth in the Premier League, three points behind fourth-placed Chelsea.

Though fifth place may be enough to ensure qualification for Europe's elite club competition - depending on Manchester City's appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) over their two-year suspension from European competition - Solskjaer knows pushing for a top-four finish has to be a priority.

United's manager acknowledged the club must find a way back into Europe's top tier if they are to maintain their financial clout.

"We're a big club and we've got good finances but the longer you're out the more you suffer, so it's an ambition to get back into the Champions League," Solskjaer told a news conference.

"For footballing reasons and financially it will help the club. We've got to focus on this competition, then the league on Sunday and then FA Cup.

"I think we need to take one game at a time. Both [routes into the Champions League through the Europa League and Premier League] are possible. In a cup competition, you never know. It might be a bad day.

"You can't rely on winning this. There are some good teams in it and we need to get past Brugge. We're looking forward to the game."

United head into Thursday's encounter with the Belgian side having drawn 1-1 away from home in the first leg.

Bruno Fernandes has added a new dimension to Manchester United's play, according to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who believes the Portugal international provides an "X-factor".

Fernandes – a long-term target for United – arrived late in the January transfer window from Sporting CP in a deal worth £46.5million (€55m) up front and up to £21.1m (€25m) in add-ons.

Since signing, Fernandes has made three Premier League starts, netting his maiden United goal in a 3-0 victory over Watford at Old Trafford on Sunday.

The 25-year-old's impact has delighted Solskjaer, who has previously compared the playmaker to former United players Paul Scholes and Juan Sebastian Veron.

"We feel we've added some X-factor quality with Bruno," Solskjaer told a news conference ahead of United's Europa League clash with Club Brugge on Thursday.

"Scott [McTominay] has developed, Nemanja [Matic] and Fred have done well. The addition of Bruno gives us a bit of a different flavour.

"He likes to play forward passes and take risks, which a Man United player should do.

"His imagination and his overview of the picture is a couple of seconds ahead of many players. It is one of his strengths that he knows what he wants to do. He can change his mind in a split-second. That composure has been important.

"I think Bruno will only improve by coming here to a stronger league, stronger opponents and stronger team-mates, getting used to us.

"We want to develop that X-factor. He's come in and impressed everyone but we don't want to put a limit on what he can do."

While United are still without Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial is hitting form after missing a chunk of the season through injury, and results have started to pick up for the Red Devils, who are unbeaten in six matches across all competitions and sit fifth in the Premier League.

However, Solskjaer insists the hard work has only just begun as his side push to qualify for next season's Champions League.

"You need many many attributes to play the perfect game or be the perfect team," Solskjaer added.

"We want the swagger, the confidence, to believe in ourselves, but you still want your players to be humble.

"I want my team to be one of the hardest working teams in the league. But that's not an attitude thing. That's what you're supposed to do. 

"You can blossom more with confidence, and speaking to the manager, getting them free. You want them to be free. Play with courage, bravery and you want bit of fear in you. It is a fine balance between arrogance, confidence and being humble.

"The squad has coped really well with that amount of games. I've said that the character and personality of them is improving, and December and January were really hard months.

"Now we're getting players back and we're looking sharp."

Luke Shaw says you must be prepared to take criticism at Manchester United after he was asked about his mixed form this season.

Ahead of United's Europa League last-32 second-leg clash with Club Brugge at Old Trafford on Thursday, Shaw accepted he still has much to work on.

But at the age of 24, the defender feels like he still has plenty of room to grow and revealed how he blocks out most of the critiques about his performances.

"I'm still quite young and I've got a lot to improve on," Shaw told reporters. "I want to improve as a player day in, day out, and keep working hard.

"I don't need to pay too much attention to what people say in the media, it's sometimes good and sometimes bad. So, I've got to focus on myself and the people that matter.

"I've had a lot of stick and if you come to Manchester United you need to take that.

"People are always ready to criticise you. It is completely different to other clubs and everyone knows when you sign that piece of paper how different it is going to be.

"You have to be able to deal with it. If you are not strong mentally and confident you will struggle to deal with it.

"There are only high standards here, so we need to be strong. I'm feeling really good and can't wait to get back out on the pitch."

Appearing alongside manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who joked Shaw had now become "dad" to emerging young full-back Brandon Williams, the England international is enjoying competition on the left side of defence.

Shaw said: "I have to be [a senior player now]! Me and Brandon play in the same position but a few times we've played together and I've enjoyed it.

"Although we are both in the same position and we want to be playing, I want to help him and push him to be a great player that he can be.

"We'll keep pushing each other in training, he's pushed me more than I have been in the past. It's good for the boss to have that competition for places."

Shaw was injured when United beat Ajax to secure Europa League glory in 2017 but the occasion gave him a taste of continental success, with his side one of the favourites to win this year's competition.

"It is a massive ambition for me," he said, with the Brugge tie sitting level at 1-1.

"I was there for the Europa League final, and the feeling, even though I wasn't on the pitch, was a feeling I have not felt and I wanted more of. I wasn't involved and that is what is pushing me on even more to get into this final."

The future of Lautaro Martinez could also have an impact on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Martinez is wanted by Barcelona and Real Madrid, while Aubameyang is reportedly eyeing an Arsenal exit.

Both players could be at different clubs in 2020-21.

 

TOP STORY – MARTINEZ OUT, AUBA IN?

Inter will look to replace Barcelona target Martinez with Arsenal star Aubameyang, according to Calciomercato.

Martinez has been heavily linked to LaLiga champions Barca as well as Real Madrid, Manchester United and Manchester City following his exploits for Inter.

The Daily Mail claims Arsenal are considering selling forward Aubameyang, who is out of contract in 2021, and he could be targeted by Inter should Martinez leave San Siro.

ROUND-UP

- Kepa Arrizabalaga is Chelsea's record signing but his future at Stamford Bridge is in doubt. El Chiringuito TV reports Chelsea have offered out-of-favour goalkeeper Kepa plus €30million (£25m) to Atletico Madrid for Jan Oblak.

Madrid are ready to offer €70m to Napoli for star midfielder Fabian Ruiz, claims Calciomercato. City and Barca are also reportedly looking to sign the Spaniard.

- Manchester Evening News writes that United have stepped up their interest in Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish. It comes as the Daily Express claims United are likely to offload Jesse Lingard and Andreas Pereira.

- Calciomercato says Inter are ready to battle Europe's elite for the signing of Gent star Jonathan David. The Canada international is wanted by the likes of United, Borussia Dortmund, Arsenal, Tottenham and Ajax.

Juventus hold an interest in Lyon midfielder Houssem Aouar, according to Calciomercato. Aouar is an option for Juve should the Serie A champions fail in their efforts to sign either United midfielder Paul Pogba or Brescia's Sandro Tonali.

Manchester United's squad rebuild will continue with an emphasis on academy products and "world-class recruits", and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at the wheel, according to executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward.

United announced their second quarter fiscal results for 2020 on Tuesday, with much of the focus on a 17 per cent fall in operating profits to £36.5million, a seven per cent increase in commercial revenues and the club's net debt inflating by 23 per cent.

But Woodward, speaking on a conference call with investors, highlighted the club's commitment to replenishing the squad.

United added Bruno Fernandes to the team in January, with the Portugal international making a solid early impact, and Woodward outlined the club's plans to continue adding ready-made "world-class" players and highly rated academy products to Solskjaer's squad.

In a statement to investors, Woodward said: "Now, I want to provide an overview of progress towards our number one priority - winning trophies with a team playing entertaining, attacking football.

"Since our last call in November we have progressed to the knockout stages of the Europa League; we are through to the fifth round in the FA Cup, and we remain in the mix to qualify for the Champions League.

"This season is one of rebuild, with many changes to the squad - in terms of players who have left or gone out on loan; new players who we have brought into the club; and academy graduates that we have brought through to the first team. This process will continue as we implement our plan and our footballing vision under Ole and his coaching staff.

"Despite being linked in the media to 111 players in January, our acquisition of just one of them - Bruno Fernandes - is an important step in that direction, demonstrating our commitment to adding experienced, world-class recruits to the exciting crop of academy graduates that are at the heart of this developing team. We will take the same planned, disciplined, approach this coming summer.

"In addition to the first team signings, somewhat under the radar, we have also made a number of exciting youth acquisitions in the past year, reflecting our commitment to bringing the best talent into our academy.

"So far our academy graduates have contributed over a third of first team playing minutes this season and over half of our goals, emphasising our academy's status as one of the most productive in elite-level European football.

"This is an important competitive advantage for us and represents an excellent return on the fourfold increase in investment that we have made in the academy over recent years."

Fittingly, shortly before Woodward's call, United announced new contracts for Under-23 goalkeeper Paul Woolston and 18-year-old full-back Ethan Laird, the latter of whom featured for the first-team in two Europa League group matches earlier this season.

Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos has revealed he came close to joining Manchester United in 2014 and also held talks with Liverpool the same year.

The Germany international has won the Champions League three times and LaLiga once since arriving at Madrid from Bayern Munich six seasons ago.

However, things could have been a lot different as Kroos was on the verge of putting pen to paper with United, only for the Premier League club to pull the plug on a potential transfer.

"David Moyes came to see me and the contract had basically been done but then Moyes was fired and Louis van Gaal came in, which complicated matters," he told The Athletic.

"Louis wanted time to build his own project. I didn't hear anything from United for a while and started having doubts.

"Then the World Cup started and Carlo Ancelotti called. And that was it."

Liverpool were also in the running to sign Kroos from Bayern and the 30-year-old received a text from Luis Suarez asking him to make the switch to Anfield.

"It wasn't a straight chat-up line but they offered to tell me more about the club and so on," he said of the discussions with the Merseyside club.

"The funny thing was, Suarez was about to leave to Barcelona anyway!"

Kroos has been linked with Madrid's Champions League last-16 opponents Manchester City in more recent years, but he has ruled out a reunion with ex-Bayern boss Pep Guardiola.

"I want to finish my career at Madrid, so I'd say it's very unlikely," said Kroos, who previously hinted he may retire when his current deal expires in 2023.

"But I loved playing for him and could have renewed my contract at Bayern, of course. I don't think it's ever a good idea to sign a deal just because of the manager, however.

"Pep wanted me to renew but what would have been the point of me signing a five-year deal if the manager was off again soon?

"He went to Man City two years later but we're still in touch and get on very well. I will never forget it because I learned so much."

Paul Pogba conceded Liverpool are "way ahead of everyone else" even if the Manchester United midfielder is desperate not to see Jurgen Klopp's men lift the Premier League.

Liverpool have been unstoppable in the league this season and Monday's come-from-behind 3-2 win over West Ham at Anfield means they have won 26 and drawn one of their 27 games.

The Reds can become the first team to wrap up the Premier League by March and are on course to go one better than 2018-19 when they finished runners-up to Manchester City, though they did also lift the Champions League.

United midfielder Pogba, who has endured an injury-hit campaign, said credit must be given where it is due even though the Red Devils midfielder is disappointed to see the club's rivals succeed.

Speaking to ESPN, he said: "They are so way ahead of everyone else.

"They have not lost a single game yet this season in the league. They already have one hand on the Premier League trophy.

"As a Manchester United player and with the rivalry between us, we don't want them to win the title. We don't want anyone else to win apart from us, but as a football lover and a respectful player to opposition team, I have to say that they deserve to be where they are today.

"They have been even better than last season when they won the Champions League and the season before when they [lost the final to Real Madrid]."

Perhaps Jadon Sancho will remain at Borussia Dortmund beyond this season.

Sancho, 19, has been heavily linked with a move to the Premier League after impressing with the Bundesliga side.

But the England winger could yet stay at Dortmund a little longer.

 

TOP STORY – SANCHO MAY STAY AT DORTMUND BEYOND THIS SEASON

Sancho is happy at Dortmund and an exit in the close season is not certain, according to Ruhr Nachrichten.

The teenager is contracted at the club until 2022 so may at least begin the 2020-21 campaign at Dortmund.

Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea are all reportedly interested in Sancho.

 

ROUND-UP

- Staying at Liverpool and the Premier League leaders may have received more good news. Sport1 reports RB Leipzig star Timo Werner's release clause is £25.2m (€30m) plus a guarantee of performance-related bonuses. Previous reports said the forward's release clause was £50.4m (€60m).

- Marcelo Brozovic has done enough to impress Antonio Conte. CalcioMercato reports Inter are ready to begin contract talks with the Croatia international, who is set for a salary increase but could also have his release clause of €60m removed. Brozovic's current deal runs until 2022.

- Could George Clooney be set for a foray into … Malaga? AS reports a group with business links to the American actor are in talks to buy a stake in the Spanish club.

- With his Manchester United contract expiring at season's end, Nemanja Matic appears set for a move from Old Trafford. CalcioMercato reports the midfielder's agents have offered the 31-year-old to Milan, Juventus and Inter.

- Leicester City are considering offering defender Christian Fuchs a new deal, according to the Daily Mail. Fuchs is out of contract at the end of the season.

Roma head coach Paulo Fonseca said the Serie A side want to sign loanees Chris Smalling and Henrikh Mkhitaryan permanently.

Smalling and Mkhitaryan are on season-long loan deals from Premier League duo Manchester United and Arsenal respectively.

United centre-back Smalling has impressed for Roma, who are determined to make the England international's deal a permanent one in the Italian capital.

"Chris is a great, great man, a great, great professional," Fonseca told Sky Sports News.

"The adaptation [to Italian football] was very easy for him. He's a boy that everyone loves in the club because he is a great professional.

"I would like Chris to stay. We are speaking. I don't know if it is possible because of the situation with Manchester United, but I would like so much for Chris to stay here with us because he is very important.

"He is a great player, a great man with a great attitude every day and for all of these reasons I would be very happy if Chris stays."

Mkhitaryan, a former United team-mate of Smalling, has experienced an injury-interrupted spell with Roma.

However, the attacking midfielder has still managed five Serie A goals and a pair of assists after scoring and creating another in the 4-0 rout of Lecce on Sunday.

"Mkhi during this season got some injuries but he is returning now and he is proving his quality," Fonseca said.

"Let's see. He is a player with great decisions on the pitch and I would also like to keep Mkhi in our team."

Roma are fifth in the Serie A standings, three points adrift of Atalanta, who occupy the fourth and final Champions League spot.

Erling Haaland has taken the world by storm since joining Borussia Dortmund in January.

Already stunning Europe with his exploits for Salzburg, Haaland has scored 12 goals in eight appearances as a Dortmund player.

Now, Real Madrid could be about to come sniffing in their pursuit of goals.

 

TOP STORY – HAALAND AN OPTION FOR MADRID

Borussia Dortmund sensation Haaland could be a cheaper alternative for Real Madrid instead of Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe, writes Marca.

Mbappe has long been linked with a move to Madrid, where Zinedine Zidane is a keen admirer of his fellow Frenchman.

However, 19-year-old Dortmund recruit Haaland – whose €75million release clause is set to kick in next year – has emerged as an option for Madrid, with PSG set to demand a mammoth fee for Mbappe.

 

ROUND-UP

- Reports linking Inter star Lautaro Martinez to Barcelona are gathering steam and Calciomercato says the LaLiga champions want to start negotiations by May. Madrid and Manchester United are also reportedly interested.

- Staying at Camp Nou and Barca are keen on signing Valencia centre-back Hugo Guillamon, according to Sport. The 20-year-old will be available on a free transfer at season's end.

Bayern Munich are interested in RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano but Kicker claims the Bundesliga champions believe he is too expensive at €60m. Upamecano has been linked to Arsenal, Tottenham, Barca and Madrid.

- Remaining in Munich and Kicker also says Bayern are unconvinced by the €100m price tag of Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Kai Havertz, whose admirers include the likes of Liverpool and United.

Bruno Fernandes' performance in Manchester United's 3-0 victory over Watford drew comparisons with Paul Scholes and Juan Sebastian Veron, as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer underlined the Portugal international's quality.

Solskjaer recalled Veron's ability to thread long-range passes and Scholes' technique after Fernandes scored United's opening goal and had a hand in strikes from Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood.

The victory was Fernandes' first at Old Trafford following his transfer from Sporting CP, and Solskjaer said his displays since joining the club had eased the attacking-midfield problems within the squad.

"In today's market I think we got a good deal," Solskjaer told reporters. "He has come in, done really well and given everyone a boost.

"It means more than just getting a player in. You can see the supporters are used to players with that personality, mentality and quality. He's been a big plus.

"From day one and, first minute, [he] felt like a presence in the group. First training session, demanding the ball. Some players take some time in warming up, but he felt confident straight away.

"It is a bit of a mix between Scholes and Veron. To be fair, he's got the temperament of Veron and a lot of the quality of Scholesy. He is a box-to-box midfielder. He can do everything a midfielder can do, similar to Veron and Scholes.

"One of the good things about him is he risks the ball like Veron did. I used to love playing with Seba [Veron] because you could make runs and you'll get the ball. And if he doesn't hit you, at least he's looking for you."

Midfield creativity has been an issue for Solskjaer this season, particularly due to Paul Pogba's lengthy injury lay-off and Jesse Lingard's struggle for form.

The United boss said Fernandes would not be limited to the advanced role behind the forwards, but indicated the club had recruited a key figure in his plans for the future.

"He is here now and he is one of the pieces that we are trying to put together," said Solskjaer. "He is a big piece in it and an important piece, because we are getting towards the business end of the field.

"We have spent with Harry [Maguire] and Aaron [Wan-Bissaka], who have done fantastically, and now we have got this number 10 or attacking midfield role nailed down. Hopefully he'll keep fit and keep producing performances.

"Some games he will play in a two, some games as an attacking midfielder, some games as a 10. He has played every position in midfield.

"He is going to be a very important part and is coming in to be a very important player for us because we've needed that type of player."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said the arrival of Bruno Fernandes at Manchester United has "given everyone a boost" after the midfielder scored his first goal for the club in a 3-0 victory over Watford at Old Trafford.

Fernandes was outstanding throughout on Sunday as United clinched a second consecutive victory in a run of three unbeaten Premier League matches and moved them up to fifth in the table.

After scoring from the penalty spot to give United the lead, Fernandes created the opening for Anthony Martial to score their second and got the assist that teed up Mason Greenwood for a stunning third.

Solskjaer later paid tribute to the 25-year-old's pace and his uplifting effect on the Red Devils squad after he followed up an impressive outing in Monday's 2-0 win over Chelsea.

"Bruno Fernandes is quicker than he looks," the United manager told BBC Sport.

"[We're] very excited by having him in. He has come in, given everyone a boost and wants to conduct a game."

Solskjaer continued: "[Bruno] loves playing football, he wants the ball, he's got the personality and character to demand it all the time, wanting to take the penalty.

"He takes it the way he does to show he is a Man United character, not just a very, very good footballer."

"[It was] a very good win, two good wins and two clean sheets, some goals to celebrate. Now, we want to kick on," added Solskjaer, whose side entertain Club Brugge in the Europa League on Thursday ahead of their trip to Everton in the Premier League three days later.

"There are big games coming up now."

United defender Luke Shaw said the victory had given his team-mates hope of catching Chelsea and qualifying for next season's Champions League.

Chelsea are fourth in the table, three points clear of United, after following up their loss to the Red Devils with a 2-1 victory over Tottenham.

Shaw told Sky Sports: "We got what we needed and that was three points. Let's keep pushing.

"The most important thing is we closed the gap to Chelsea.

"This club is known for playing in the big competitions. We all miss the Champions League nights so much – that is what we want next season.

"We need to fight and earn it."

Bruno Fernandes is determined to propel Manchester United back into the Champions League after he scored his first goal for the club in an impressive 3-0 victory over Watford at Old Trafford.

The Portugal international was inspirational for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side on Sunday, scoring their first from the penalty spot and then having a hand in goals for Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood as the Red Devils moved up to fifth in the Premier League table.

Fernandes, who sent Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster the wrong way with a skip in his run-up, was delighted to get a first home triumph with his new club – and hopes there are plenty more to come this season.

"This is the day every player wants to have," Fernandes said. "I had the luck to score and win the game. We all gave our best and gave an excellent game, finally my first win at home.

"Everyone knows we want to take a Champions League place. It's not new for anybody. I'm just here to help the team to conquer this place and keep winning games."

On his penalty technique, he added: "It's the way I shoot a penalty. I feel confident shooting this way. I don't shoot just in that way but today I think it was the best way to score, so I just tried and was lucky enough to score."

Fernandes aimed a friendly dig at team-mate Martial, who denied him an assist in the process of scoring United's second.

Martial received the ball from Fernandes and fired a shot that Foster saved, only for the France international to chip the ball beyond the keeper at the second attempt.

Fernandes did set up Greenwood to score with a rocket of a shot, and he pointed out that it could easily have been two assists.

"I hope Anthony scores more goals when I pass the ball to him and not him miss the goal and take the ball again, because if he scores it's two assists," said Fernandes.

"Last week he said he never scores on my assist, but I think it's not my fault!"

He added: "I just need to help the team. This is what I want to do and what I need to do."

Bruno Fernandes scored his first goal for Manchester United and created two more as the Red Devils extended their unbeaten run to six matches in all competitions with a 3-0 Premier League victory over Watford.

The £62million January signing from Sporting CP put in a performance that made his fee look like a bargain, winning and scoring a first-half penalty to break the deadlock against a battling Watford team before creating superbly taken goals from Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood.

United survived some nervous moments and Watford had an equaliser ruled out for handball before Martial doubled their advantage, but the invention and craft of Fernandes has given Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men an edge they lacked for so much of this season.

Defeat leaves Watford in the relegation zone and without a win in six matches in all competitions, but manager Nigel Pearson will take some comfort from a strong attacking performance that might have delivered a different outcome but for some poor finishing.

Troy Deeney might have put Watford ahead after three minutes when Nemanja Matic and Harry Maguire allowed Victor Lindelof's blocked pass to run through to the Hornets captain, but he hesitated, and Luke Shaw dispossessed him just in time.

Abdoulaye Doucoure hit the side-netting from a tight angle as Watford continued to prise open a faltering United defence and, when the hosts countered, Aaron Wan-Bissaka missed from 12 yards after Ben Foster parried Dan James' angled drive.

The pace of the game slowed before exploding into life five minutes before half-time when Fernandes burst into the Watford box where Ben Foster sent him sprawling, and the Portuguese midfielder's hopping run-up and cool low finish put United ahead from the spot.

Watford had the ball in the net five minutes after the restart when Maguire lashed it into the roof of his own net under pressure from Deeney, but Craig Dawson playing the ball with his arm in the build-up meant the goal was ruled out.

Six minutes later, Fernandes turned provider, threading a pass through to Martial whose drag-back fooled Etienne Capoue before his immaculate chip saw him beat Foster at the second attempt.

United's third was the pick of the goals, Greenwood starting a move that ended with Fernandes rolling the ball to him just inside the box and he cracked an unstoppable shot into the top corner of the net off the frame of the goal.

Solskjaer sent on Odion Ighalo for his home United debut against his former club and he hit the post six minutes from time but by then the game was comfortably won as hopes of a possible Champions League return continued to grow around Old Trafford.

 

What does it mean?

One win in three home league matches hardly feels like great form but United are just three points behind fourth-place Chelsea, while Watford, who are 19th, remain one point adrift of safety and still without a league win at Old Trafford in their history.

Fernandes brings out United's best

The arrival of Fernandes has given the likes of James and Greenwood a creative lynchpin and, after showing his finishing prowess, the 25-year-old brought the best out of Martial and Greenwood.

Deeney made to rue early miss

Sluggish and sloppy in the opening 20 minutes, Deeney eventually grew into the game but only after he had missed Watford's best chance of the game.

What's next?

Watford host champions elect Liverpool at Vicarage Road on Saturday before United's trip to Everton on Sunday. The Red Devils are in Europa League action against Club Brugge at Old Trafford three days earlier.

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