It often feels like football works in cycles.

A few months beyond 20 years since a crunch group tie at the World Cup, South Korea and Portugal are ready to do it all again.

The Selecao are already through after two wins from two against Ghana and Uruguay, and barring a three-goal turnaround, their progression will come as group winners.

Head coach Fernando Santos could decide to rotate, but then again, perhaps the smell of revenge will be enough for him to go full strength once more.

The only previous meeting between South Korea and Portugal came at the 2002 World Cup, which South Korea won 1-0 on home soil in the final game of the group stage, a result that eliminated Portugal from the tournament.

This time it will be all or nothing for South Korea with only a win being enough, while also needing Uruguay to narrowly beat Ghana.

Paulo Bento's men have lost five of their last seven World Cup matches (W1 D1), as many as they had in their previous 16 (W5 D6), and are looking to win their third group game for just the third time at the tournament, previously doing so against Portugal in 2002, as mentioned, and in 2018 against Germany.

The first goal will be especially important as Portugal are yet to lose a match at the World Cup when they have scored first (P18 W15 D3), doing so without losing more than any other nation in tournament history.

 

Bento will not be present for the game after receiving a red card at the end of the 3-2 defeat to Ghana, furiously reacting to referee Anthony Taylor's decision to blow the full-time whistle after his team had won a corner.

"We shall continue to prepare in same way as other matches – our strategy will not fail," his assistant Sergio Costa said after that game. "He won't be present on the matchday, which is a loss because Paulo is obviously a great manager, but I think it will bring us together."

The irony being that Bento played for Portugal in that 2002 humiliation against South Korea. In fact it turned out to be his final game for the national side, before returning as head coach between 2010 and 2014.

Portugal, meanwhile, are looking to win all three group-stage matches for just a third time, also doing so in 1966 and 2006.

If Cristiano Ronaldo and Co. can do so while also ending South Korea's tournament, there will likely be a sense of payback to go with it.
 

PLAYERS TO WATCH

South Korea – Son Heung-min

Son was always going to be the main man for his country, but so far the Tottenham attacker has been unable to show his true worth in Qatar.

He has been a generational talent for his country, though. Since the start of the 2010-11 campaign, Son has scored more goals in Europe's top five leagues than any other South Korea player (137).

Son also had the most shots (40), shots on target (19), scored the most goals (5) and created the most chances (27) of any player for South Korea during qualifying.

Portugal – Bruno Fernandes

While most eyes have been on Ronaldo, as ever, his former Manchester United team-mate has been the real MVP of the World Cup for his country so far.

Fernandes has been involved in four of Portugal's five goals (two goals, two assists), and is only the second player this century to have registered multiple goals and assists in a team's first two group-stage matches, after Karim Benzema for France in 2014.

He also created 21 chances in qualifying, more than any other Portuguese player.

PREDICTION

Portugal lack a desperate need for a result in terms of winning the group, and the Opta prediction model does not have them as overwhelming favourites, though Santos' men are still expected to win with a victory chance percentage of 58.4.

The draw, which like a Portugal win is of no use either to South Korea's hopes, is rated at 22.3 per cent, while that all important victory for the Taegeuk Warriors is given a 19.3 per cent chance.

Real Madrid are long-term admirers of Bruno Fernandes, dating back to his time with Sporting CP.

The 28-year-old midfielder impressed with both goals in Portugal's 2-0 win over Uruguay at the World Cup on Monday.

Fernandes signed a new contract with Manchester United in April, keeping him at Old Trafford until 2026 with the option of a further year.

 

TOP STORY – REAL MADRID CONSIDER JANUARY MOVE FOR FERNANDES

Spanish giants Real Madrid could try to tempt Manchester United's Bruno Fernandes to the club in January or at the end of the season, reports The Express.

Los Blancos' long-held interest in Fernandes has intensified amid his impressive displays at the World Cup.

Portuguese outlet Record claims that Madrid are scouting Fernandes while he plays for the national team.

The Express report says that the lure of Champions League football may tempt Fernandes should United miss the top four this season.

 

ROUND-UP

Cristiano Ronaldo is close to agreeing to a deal with Saudi Arabian club Al Nassr, according to Marca. The Telegraph had reported that the deal was worth £150million per season, although The Sun has claimed that the ex-Manchester United star still wants to play Champions League football and has not accepted the offer.

Gareth Bale's LAFC contract has a break clause that could see him leave the club prior to the new MLS season in February 2023, according to The Sun. The Mirror claims the Welshman will make a decision on his future by February.

– The Mirror claims that Manchester United are bullish about retaining Marcus Rashford's services, with the striker out of contract at the end of this season. United will exercise an option to extend his deal by another 12 months in January.

Manchester United have made Bayer Leverkusen defender Jeremie Frimpong their top transfer target in January, reports the Daily Mail. United have sent scouts to watch the Dutch defender, with a view to ramping up talks after the World Cup.

– Inter expect €30m for Tottenham-target Denzel Dumfries, according to Tuttosport. The Nerazzurri are willing to sell the Dutch right-back in January.

– The Times reports Brighton and Hove Albion's Scottish midfielder Billy Gilmour could join Spanish club Villarreal in January.

FIFA has confirmed Cristiano Ronaldo did not score Portugal's first goal in Monday's win over Uruguay after Adidas' match ball technology revealed there was no touch on Bruno Fernandes' cross.

Ronaldo was initially thought to have scored his ninth World Cup goal when he attempted to meet Fernandes' inswinging delivery with a glancing header, putting Portugal on course for a 2-0 win. 

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner celebrated the strike wildly, though FIFA later intervened to award Fernandes with his first World Cup goal.

Fernandes later made the points safe from the penalty spot as Portugal confirmed their place in the last 16, and the use of technology from match ball suppliers Adidas means his brace will stand.

A statement from FIFA provided to ESPN read: "In the match between Portugal and Uruguay, using the Connected Ball Technology housed in Adidas's Al Rihla official match ball, we are able to definitively show no contact on the ball from Cristiano Ronaldo for the opening goal in the game.

"No external force on the ball could be measured as shown by the lack of 'heartbeat' in our measurements. The 500Hz IMU sensor inside the ball allows us to be highly accurate in our analysis."

Speaking after the win, Fernandes said the identity of Portugal's first goalscorer was unimportant but outlined his initial belief that Ronaldo had touched the ball.

However, FIFA's ruling means Fernandes has scored seven international goals in 2022, more than twice as many as any Portugal team-mate, with Ronaldo hitting the net three times for his country.

Meanwhile, Fernandes' former Manchester United team-mate remains one goal shy of matching Eusebio's all-time record of nine goals for Portugal at the World Cup finals – all of which came at the 1966 tournament.

Bruno Fernandes claimed "I don't really think it matters" after being credited the opening goal in a 2-0 win over Uruguay to secure Portugal's World Cup last-16 place.

The Manchester United midfielder scored twice as Fernando Santos' side guaranteed their passage into the knockout stage with a match to spare after downing Uruguay at Lusail Stadium.

Portugal's opener was initially credited to Cristiano Ronaldo, who appeared to faintly glance home Fernandes' 54th-minute cross, but FIFA eventually intervened and awarded it to the latter.

Fernandes sealed the points from the penalty spot in the closing stages and is now focused on securing top spot in Group H by avoiding defeat against South Korea on Friday.

"I don't really think it matters who scored the goal at this point," he said when asked about Portugal's first strike. "The feeling I had at the time was that Cristiano touched the ball. I was passing the ball to him.

"But what's important is that we were able to go on to the next round after a very important win against a tough opponent.

"The importance of being first [in Group H] includes winning the next game, which would allow us to come out of the group undefeated with three wins, and that's what we want.

"We know we will find a very well-organised [South Korea] team ahead of us. Our objective is to think match after match – to win all the ones in the group phase, we still have one ahead of us.

"We have to do our very best because we want to win all the matches."

Santos hopes Portugal can finish the job to top Group H, having won their opening two World Cup games for only the third time – also achieving the feat in 1966 and 2006 in runs to the semi-final stage.

The Portugal head coach saluted his players, while he also revealed that Nuno Mendes will be assessed in "24 hours" after limping off during the first half.

"All our team have a great performance," Santos said. "The game was difficult, our opponent was difficult.

"In the second half, we managed to play as we are used to; despite the fact that the Uruguayan players were playing very well.

"Our players responded with purpose, and we managed to win with fair play. We have a feeling of satisfaction as we can move to the next stage.

"[Two wins from two is] exactly what I wanted for my team. As I said back in Portugal, our team is very united, we have a very good team building, and now we are given the answers to what was asked of us.

"There is still a match to be played; we need to be careful with our considerations. We do want to be first [in Group H], but we are not first yet. As a result, we need to continue improving on our tactics."

Portugal will be on a revenge mission when they attempt to make it two World Cup wins out of two against Uruguay on Monday.

La Celeste dumped Portugal out of the World Cup with a 2-1 victory at the round of 16 stage in Sochi four years ago.

Edinson Cavani's double ended Portugal's quest to be crowned champions in 2018, with Uruguay then losing 2-0 in a quarter-final against France.

Fernando Santos' side took their first step towards the knockout stage in Qatar by beating Ghana 3-2 on Thursday after Uruguay had been held to a goalless draw by South Korea.

Cristiano Ronaldo opened the scoring from the penalty spot to become the first man to find the back of the net in five World Cups.

It was by no means all plain sailing for Portugal, though, and goalkeeper Diogo Costa almost gifted Ghana a last-gasp equaliser when he rolled the ball out and was robbed by Inaki Williams, but breathed a huge sigh of relief when the forward slipped.

Forward Goncalo Ramos knows Portugal face a big test when they face Diego Alonso's men in their second Group H match at Lusail Stadium 

He told reporters on Saturday: "They are very strong and dangerous. [Diego] Godín is a great player, but picking out individuals in a team with so much quality, it's not worth it."

Ramos added: "I think a team with our quality has to be favourites in any game. A draw? We don't look at any game thinking about a draw."

Uruguay could become the first team to keep six consecutive World Cup group stage clean sheets in Al Daayen.

Portugal have lost just one of their past 13 group stage games at the World Cup, that loss coming at the hands of Germany in 2014

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Portugal - Bruno Fernandes

While it was Ronaldo who took the headlines yet again following the win over Ghana, Bruno Fernandes played a huge part and he can help Portugal dictate the tempo against Uruguay.

The midfielder provided the passes for Joao Felix to put Portugal in front for a second time, and for Rafael Leao to make it 3-1.

Fernandes created more chances than any of his team-mates and became only the second Portugal player to provide two assists in a World Cup match after Jose Torres against Brazil back in 1966.

Uruguay - Federico Valverde

While Uruguay were toothless in a drab draw with South Korea, Federico Valverde did his best to get them going.

The Real Madrid midfielder struck the woodwork late on and showed the quality that has made him an important player for the European champions.

Valverde is capable of causing Portugal problems in such a big game for La Celeste as they eye a spot in the round of 16.

PREDICTION

Portugal are well fancied to be sitting pretty on six points with one group match to play.

Stats Perform's AI model has Santos' men down as having a 50.5 per cent chance of making it two victories from as many matches.

Uruguay's chances of claiming a first win of the tournament are rated at 23.4 per cent, while a draw is 26.1 per cent.

Bruno Fernandes described his time playing with Cristiano Ronaldo at Manchester United as a "dream come true" after the five-time Ballon d'Or winner left the club by mutual consent.

Ronaldo's United departure appeared inevitable after he gave a bombshell interview to Piers Morgan, in which he said the club had "betrayed" him and declared he did not respect manager Erik ten Hag.

Having committed to taking "appropriate steps" against Ronaldo, United confirmed on Tuesday they had severed ties with the forward with immediate effect.

As Fernandes prepares to team up with Ronaldo for Portugal's World Cup opener against Ghana on Thursday, the attacking midfielder said he will cherish their time spent together at Old Trafford.

Asked whether speculation concerning Ronaldo's future had affected him, Fernandes said: "I don't feel uncomfortable. I don't have to pick a side. It was a privilege, to play at the club with Cristiano was a dream. 

"Cristiano has always been an inspiration for me, so it was a dream come true to be able to play with him at the club, but we know that nothing lasts forever. 

"It was great for me and good while it lasted. Cristiano took a different decision for his life and his decision has to be respected, regardless of us agreeing or not. 

"We are players, but we're also parents, brothers, we know it might be difficult to take these decisions but they have to be for the wellness of ourselves and our families."

Fernandes also insists he has not discussed Ronaldo's next steps with him, adding: "Cristiano hasn't discussed with me, it's his decision, a personal decision and it should pertain to him and his family, that's for sure. 

"We haven't discussed the topic, we are focused on the national team, the World Cup. You know how important playing for the national team is for Cristiano. 

"That's a dream for a player, winning the World Cup, and it's a competition where every player wants to play. 

"Our focus is 100 per cent on the national team, we are aware of what we have to do. I don't believe that what he's done or decided will have any impact on the national team."

Last week, onlookers speculated that an awkward handshake between Ronaldo and Fernandes demonstrated discontent between the duo, though Joao Mario later insisted it was the result of a joke after Fernandes arrived late for Portugal's pre-tournament camp.

Fernandes repeated Joao Mario's explanation on Wednesday, adding: "It was a joke. When you take regular flights – these things happen!

"I wasn't worried about knowing his future at that moment. If it weren't for this news, something else would happen.

"When you have to talk, you talk about those who make the most noise, and Cristiano is the one who makes the most noise in the world of football."

Ghana coach Otto Addo, meanwhile, was in no mood to allow Ronaldo's United departure to overshadow his own team's World Cup preparations.

"I don't know and I honestly don't care. It's not our problem," Addo said when asked about Ronaldo. "I don't think it will be a distraction. Everyone wants to win, it's a big game, it's the World Cup."

Bruno Fernandes says he has "no problem" with Cristiano Ronaldo following his Manchester United and Portugal team-mate's explosive interview.

Ronaldo told TalkTV he felt betrayed by United and spoke of how his relationship with manager Erik ten Hag has broken down, also criticising club owners the Glazer family.

Footage emerged of Fernandes seemingly giving Ronaldo a frosty reception when they reported for international duty ahead of the World Cup in Qatar this week.

United defender Raphael Varane stated that the Ronaldo saga had "obviously affected" the club.

Yet Fernandes says he has no issue with the forward as Portugal prepare to face Ghana in their first match of the tournament next Thursday.

The midfielder told Sky Sports: "I didn't read the interview so I'm okay with that. As I said before, now it's the national team, it's Portugal. The coach made a point that it's us, he made that point since I came with the national team in 2017.

"That is still clear, that in his mind the main thing here is the national team and us, so we have to be focused on the World Cup.

"You don't have a chance to play a World Cup many times – Cristiano did really well to play five times, this will be his fifth time – so everyone is ready for that, everyone wants to give their best for the team."

Fernandes added: "This is the national team, Manchester United will be my focus after the World Cup, after December 18, because that is the final.

"I have no problem with anyone. I do my job. You have to control yourself, give your best and that's it."

Bruno Fernandes scored twice as Portugal eased to a 4-0 victory over Nigeria in their sole World Cup warm-up game, despite missing captain Cristiano Ronaldo through illness.

Fernando Santos' side produced a dominant showing in Lisbon on Thursday amid the ongoing furore over the absent Ronaldo's scathing interview on Manchester United.

Fernandes' first-half double, the latter from the penalty spot, set Portugal on their way in their final outing ahead of Qatar, before Goncalo Ramos scored after Emmanuel Dennis missed a second-half spot-kick.

Joao Mario added a late fourth and Portugal will now turn their attention to next Thursday's Group H opener against Ghana as they aim to reach the World Cup quarter-finals for the first time in four tournaments.

Fernandes miscued an effort just wide in the opening stages but made amends after nine minutes as he turned home Diogo Dalot's cutback pass.

Joao Felix curled narrowly over before Bright Osayi-Samuel was adjudged to have handled inside the area, with Fernandes sending Francis Uzoho the wrong way with his spot-kick.

A host of half-time changes did little to alter Portugal's dominance, though Samuel Chukwueze forced a rare Rui Patricio save before Uzoho tipped over from Joao Felix.

The VAR deemed Dalot to have shoved Osayi-Samuel inside the area, though Patricio saved Dennis' penalty before Ramos sealed victory by tapping in Raphael Guerreiro's unselfish pass.

A simple Joao Felix offload teed up the final goal as Joao Mario prodded into an empty net.

What does it mean? Santos' side in cruise control ahead of Qatar

The ongoing controversy surrounding five-time Ballon d'Or winner Ronaldo could have easily derailed Portugal, though that did not prove the case in a routine win.

Santos' side dominated from the first minute without their talisman and will be confident of escaping Group H, which also includes Uruguay and South Korea.

However, the likes of Ghana and Uruguay – the latter with the likes of Federico Valverde, Ronald Araujo and Darwin Nunez – will prove much sterner tasks than Nigeria in Qatar.

Fernandes refutes Ronaldo deputy tag

All the talk in the build-up to the friendly surrounded Fernandes' United team-mate Ronaldo, though it was the midfielder who shone at Estadio Jose Alvalade.

Fernandes has regularly played the backing role to Ronaldo at Old Trafford and Portugal, but offered a timely reminder of his qualities with two goals as well as misplacing just three of his 37 passes.

More from Miffi

While Portugal impressed without their star attacker, Nigeria were left wanting in their forward line as Terem Moffi failed to deliver.

The 23-year-old completed just six of his 11 passes and managed 15 touches – the fewest of any outfield starter – before his second-half removal.

What's next?

Portugal's curtain-raiser comes against Ghana in Doha, while Nigeria are not scheduled for action until facing Guinea-Bissau in Africa Cup of Nations qualification in March.

Cristiano Ronaldo endured a frosty reception from Manchester United team-mate Bruno Fernandes as they reunited for Portugal's World Cup preparations.

The superstar forward, who has cut a frustrated figure at Old Trafford this term following an off-season spent reportedly seeking an exit, roundly criticised the club in an interview with broadcaster Piers Morgan. 

In excerpts published ahead of the full discussion, Ronaldo took aim at boss Erik ten Hag, United's ownership under the Glazer family, and several other members of their hierarchy.

His comments have been widely criticised since, though with United now not in domestic action until after Qatar 2022, Ronaldo's interaction with club-mates was always going to be minimised.

That is not the case with fellow Portugal international Fernandes, however, who appeared to snub Ronaldo upon meeting him as part of Fernando Santos' squad earlier this week.

In a video published by the team's official social media channels, the midfielder seems to ignore his team-mate's outstretched hand on arrival into the dressing room, only to turn back and shake before walking away.

Portugal will hope any disharmony between the two can quickly be put to one side with the duo key figures in their hopes of success.

They begin their World Cup campaign against Ghana on November 24 in Group H, before further fixtures against Uruguay and South Korea.

Manchester United midfielder Bruno Fernandes has insisted "football is for everyone" as the domestic game prepares to halt for the upcoming World Cup in Qatar.

A number of the world's biggest leagues will take a mid-season break for the tournament, which is being played in November and December instead of the usual June and July due to the climate in Qatar.

As well as the timing, there have been a number of concerns raised about the decision to allow Qatar to host the biggest tournament in football, such as human rights issues in the country, including reports of migrant worker deaths during the construction of the stadiums where the World Cup will be played.

The tournament gets underway on November 20, and speaking after United's late 2-1 win at Fulham in their final Premier League match before then, Fernandes – who will represent Portugal in Qatar – did not hold back on his opinions when speaking to Sky Sports.

"Of course, it's strange," he said. "It's not exactly the time we want to be playing in the World Cup. Obviously I think for everyone, players, fans, it's not the best time because kids will be at school, people will be working, the timings will not be the best for people to watch the games.

"We know the surroundings of the World Cup what has been in the last few weeks, the last few months, about the people that have died at the construction of the stadiums.

"We are not happy for that at all. We want football to be for everyone, everyone has to be included and involved in the World Cup because it's 'world', it is for everyone.

"These kind of things I think should not happen at any time, but a World Cup is more than football; it is a party for fans, players, and something that is pure joy to watch, and should be done in a better way."

Erik ten Hag's men secured an injury-time win at Craven Cottage on Sunday through teenager Alejandro Garnacho, after Christian Eriksen gave the Red Devils a first-half lead with his maiden goal for the club.

The Denmark international will also be going to Qatar, and simply said: "It's football, no matter where it is. That's why were are going to the World Cup, because we qualified and we're just going to play football."

Alejandro Garnacho came off the bench to score a stoppage-time winner as Manchester United signed off for the World Cup break with a dramatic 2-1 win at Fulham on Sunday.

Erik ten Hag's team hit the front through Christian Eriksen's first United goal early on, but they looked set to be denied by their former winger Dan James when he levelled within two minutes of entering the fray.

Fulham appeared the more likely winners from there as United relied on a string of saves from David de Gea, but Garnacho slotted home three minutes into stoppage time to stun Craven Cottage.

The 18-year-old's composed finish lifted United to within three points of the Premier League's top four, ensuring the Red Devils entered the six-week hiatus in positive mood.

Manchester United twice came from behind to seal a thrilling 4-2 win over Aston Villa in the EFL Cup, avenging Sunday's Premier League defeat to Unai Emery's men.

With Erik ten Hag resting several key players and Cristiano Ronaldo absent through illness at Old Trafford, United fell behind through Ollie Watkins' well-taken finish at the start of a frantic second half, though Anthony Martial swiftly levelled.

United then went 2-1 down when Diogo Dalot put into his own net, but Marcus Rashford's strike set up a grandstand finish.

Fernandes saw an effort deflect off Tyrone Mings before nestling in the top-left corner and McTominay finished the visitors off to ensure United advanced to the fourth round following a back-and-forth encounter.

Bruno Fernandes credited Alejandro Garnacho for improving his previously poor attitude after the teenager marked a rare Manchester United start with the winner against Real Sociedad.

Garnacho was named United's under-18 Player of the Year last season but has largely remained on the periphery of the first-team squad under Erik ten Hag this campaign.

The teenager proved his worth on Thursday, though, scoring his first senior goal for United with a first-half strike in a 1-0 win at La Real in the Europa League.

While the 18-year-old will hope to feature more for Ten Hag at Old Trafford now, Fernandes says he must continue with a much-improved attitude after failing to impress in pre-season with the senior side.

"He was good but he knows we expect at lot from him. He's still really young. He's doing really well," the Portugal international told BT Sport.

"At the beginning of the season, not at his best, in the tour he didn't have the best attitude that he should have and that's why he didn't get his chances until now.

"Now he's getting chances because he's training better, he's having a better attitude and he deserves his chances."

Garnacho's strike may earn him a share of the plaudits but United still had to settle for second in Group E after Imanol Alguacil's side topped the pool by virtue of a better head-to-head record.

Juventus and Barcelona, both sides to be eliminated from the Champions League, could await United in the Europa League's knockout play-off round, with the draw set to take place on Monday.

Despite not progressing as winners of the group after failing to secure the two-goal win that was required, Fernandes believes the victory will offer Ten Hag's side encouragement.

"Obviously, we knew that we needed a two-goal difference to go through at the top of the group, but it was not possible," he added. 

"But we won the game, we keep the momentum, we didn't concede a goal once again, so we have to keep the positives of this game, and there are many positives – much more than negatives. 

"So it's just [about] keeping the momentum on Sunday [when United visit Aston Villa in the Premier League]."

Cristiano Ronaldo must have had good reason for walking away from Manchester United's 2-0 triumph over Tottenham on Wednesday, claims former team-mate Nani.

An excellent performance from United saw them dominate Spurs at Old Trafford, as a deflected Fred strike and a sublime finish from Bruno Fernandes gave them an important victory over a top-four rival.

However, unused substitute Ronaldo headed along the touchline and down the tunnel before the final whistle blew. According to a report in the Athletic, the 37-year-old went on to leave the stadium early too, instead of celebrating with team-mates.

Despite his side's superb display, United manager Erik ten Hag was forced to field questions over Ronaldo's premature exit after the game, telling Amazon Prime he would "deal with" the matter on Thursday.

Nani, who played with Ronaldo for United as well as Portugal, defended his former team-mate before suggesting Ronaldo likely had valid reasons for his early departure.

"I don't know what happened in that moment," Nani exclusively told Stats Perform. "Maybe he had to go to the bathroom.

"Everyone knows he is a professional, very big professional."

Nani, now playing in Australia's A-League for Melbourne Victory, did not watch United's game against Tottenham, but he knows how being an unused substitute would feel for Ronaldo, and he suggested the early walk-off was not as significant as some have made out.

"He works really hard to be on the field. Maybe [there can] probably be a little bit of frustration there on not being an option to play," Nani said.

"But this is his desire, to be on the field and play. But I think it's not a big deal because there is a reason probably."

Bruno Fernandes has made it clear he does not need to be the "main man" at Manchester United, though he admits he wants to score more goals.

The midfielder curled home a stunning effort in his side's 2-0 victory against Tottenham on Wednesday, his first at Old Trafford this season.

Fernandes scored 18 Premier League goals during his first full season at United, along with 12 assists, but those numbers decreased last term to 10 goals and six assists, leading to some scrutiny of his performances.

Speaking to Amazon Prime after the game against Spurs, Fernandes conceded he needs to be an influence on the attacking play but his main focus is on the team's results.

"I was concerned because I want to score goals, and I wasn't getting my goals but it was not my main focus," he said.

"The team was getting good results, the last one [against Newcastle United] was not a good result, we want to win every game, but for me, when the team is winning, it's perfect.

"As an individual, I want to get goals and assists, it's part of the game and the position that I play. I need to have that."

During Amazon's coverage, Patrice Evra suggested to Fernandez that he plays better as the "main man" when the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo are not in the side, though the United midfielder made it clear he does not see it that way.

"I don't like the phrase 'being the main man'. I know when some players are on the pitch, I respect their positions and I know I will need to do different things to get the best out of them. I don't have any problems to sacrifice myself to get the best out of my team-mates."

United's win against Spurs came after a relentless assault on Hugo Lloris' goal, with the hosts totalling 28 shots throughout the game as they played out Erik ten Hag's instructions.

"Everyone knows the manager wants to play with intensity, with pressure, to play as high as possible so that whenever we recover the ball, we are closer to the goal," Fernandes explained.

"Obviously, you get frustrated when you don't get the goals, we had many chances in the first half, but the belief of the team makes us win the game today.

"The reaction when we lost the ball up front was probably the most important thing today."

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