Premier League
Man UtdManchester United3BrentfordBrentford0

Man Utd 3-0 Brentford: Fernandes, Ronaldo & Varane score in morale-boosting win

By Simon StoneBBC Sport at Old Trafford
Bruno Fernandes scores
Only Mohamed Salah (73) and Harry Kane (65) have been involved in more Premier League goals than Bruno Fernandes (61 - 36 goals & 25 assists) since he made his Manchester United debut in February 2020

Manchester United recorded the biggest win of Ralf Rangnick's reign in his final home match as interim boss as Brentford were beaten at Old Trafford.

A brilliant opener from Bruno Fernandes was followed by a second-half penalty from Cristiano Ronaldo and Raphael Varane's first United goal as the hosts cruised to victory.

Ronaldo also had a goal disallowed as he moved onto 18 Premier League goals, four behind Golden Boot leader Mohamed Salah.

The result keeps alive United's slender hopes of Champions League qualification at least until next weekend, while Brentford could still go down, even though their 40 points is almost certainly enough to retain their status as a top-flight club.

For the third game running, home fans protested against the club's owners, but while there were plenty of anti-Glazer family chants and green and gold flares in opposition to the Americans, the mooted 73rd-minute walkout did not materialise in any significant number.

Mata's fond farewell

United's victory moved them on to 58 points with two games remaining, meaning they still have the chance to match their tally from the 2013-14 campaign under David Moyes, which is their lowest since the 59 they struggled to in 1990-91.

This was actually one of their better displays, helped in no small part by Juan Mata, who was making his first league start of the season in what was probably his last match at Old Trafford.

Mata could have had an assist to go with his precise passing and invention, only for Ronaldo to be judged marginally offside after he had scored from the veteran Spain international's pass.

Ronaldo got his goal anyway, sending Brentford keeper David Raya the wrong way from the spot after the Portuguese had been fouled by Rico Henry.

That doubled a lead given to the hosts by Fernandes.

With a contract to 2026, Fernandes is one of the pillars of incoming manager Erik ten Hag's United.

His first goal since February was a beauty, slamming home Anthony Elanga's cutback with a first-time volley.

Raphael Varane's deflected shot brought United their third - and with the protest not gaining the anticipated momentum, there were still plenty of fans in the stadium as the home players went on their post-match lap of appreciation for a season that most connected with the club cannot wait to end.

Big decision awaits for Eriksen

This was only Christian Eriksen's ninth match for club and country since his return from the cardiac arrest he suffered while playing for Denmark against Finland at the European Championship in June 2021.

Yet the Dane has already done enough to show he can operate at a level above Brentford.

Within 10 seconds of kick-off, he had lifted a pass over the United defence that threatened to create an opportunity for Bryan Mbeumo before Victor Lindelof came across to cover.

It was a pin-point curling Eriksen cross that Ivan Toney headed over from a central position, a deep free-kick at the start of the second half that the striker was unable to keep on target and a long-range free-kick from the Dane that David de Gea had to palm away.

Eriksen's contract runs out in the summer, although it does contain an option to extend it for a further year.

The big question is whether the 30-year-old repays Brentford - and Thomas Frank's faith in offering him a way back into the game - and commits to another season or he accepts an offer from a bigger club, which will surely come his way.

Player of the match

Cristiano RonaldoCristiano Ronaldo

with an average of 8.28

Manchester United

  1. Squad number7Player nameCristiano Ronaldo
    Average rating

    8.28

  2. Squad number8Player nameMata
    Average rating

    7.83

  3. Squad number1Player namede Gea
    Average rating

    7.30

  4. Squad number19Player nameVarane
    Average rating

    7.23

  5. Squad number18Player nameBruno Fernandes
    Average rating

    7.19

  6. Squad number36Player nameElanga
    Average rating

    7.12

  7. Squad number31Player nameMatic
    Average rating

    6.87

  8. Squad number39Player nameMcTominay
    Average rating

    6.57

  9. Squad number2Player nameLindelöf
    Average rating

    6.51

  10. Squad number27Player nameAlex Telles
    Average rating

    6.33

  11. Squad number4Player nameJones
    Average rating

    6.31

  12. Squad number20Player nameDiogo Dalot
    Average rating

    6.30

  13. Squad number17Player nameFred
    Average rating

    6.09

  14. Squad number21Player nameCavani
    Average rating

    5.96

Brentford

  1. Squad number21Player nameEriksen
    Average rating

    7.55

  2. Squad number17Player nameToney
    Average rating

    5.52

  3. Squad number18Player nameJansson
    Average rating

    5.09

  4. Squad number6Player nameNørgaard
    Average rating

    5.06

  5. Squad number29Player nameBech Sørensen
    Average rating

    5.02

  6. Squad number30Player nameRoerslev
    Average rating

    4.93

  7. Squad number19Player nameMbeumo
    Average rating

    4.91

  8. Squad number20Player nameAjer
    Average rating

    4.88

  9. Squad number27Player nameJanelt
    Average rating

    4.88

  10. Squad number8Player nameJensen
    Average rating

    4.86

  11. Squad number1Player nameRaya
    Average rating

    4.83

  12. Squad number10Player nameDasilva
    Average rating

    4.65

  13. Squad number3Player nameHenry
    Average rating

    4.63

  14. Squad number11Player nameWissa
    Average rating

    4.49

Line-ups

Man Utd

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1de Gea
  • 20Dalot
  • 2Lindelöf
  • 19Varane
  • 27Telles
  • 39McTominay
  • 31MaticBooked at 54minsSubstituted forFredat 71'minutes
  • 36ElangaSubstituted forCavaniat 75'minutes
  • 8MataSubstituted forJonesat 75'minutes
  • 18Bruno Fernandes
  • 7Cristiano Ronaldo

Substitutes

  • 3Bailly
  • 4Jones
  • 10Rashford
  • 14Lingard
  • 17Fred
  • 21Cavani
  • 26Henderson
  • 74Fernández
  • 75Garnacho Ferreyra

Brentford

Formation 5-3-2

  • 1Raya
  • 30Roerslev
  • 20Ajer
  • 18Jansson
  • 29Bech Sørensen
  • 3Henry
  • 27JaneltSubstituted forDasilvaat 71'minutes
  • 6NørgaardSubstituted forJensenat 71'minutes
  • 21Eriksen
  • 17Toney
  • 19MbeumoSubstituted forWissaat 76'minutes

Substitutes

  • 8Jensen
  • 10Dasilva
  • 11Wissa
  • 23Jeanvier
  • 24Fosu-Henry
  • 26Baptiste
  • 36Stevens
  • 40Fernández
  • 43Young-Coombes
Referee:
Chris Kavanagh
Attendance:
73,482

Match Stats

Home TeamMan UtdAway TeamBrentford
Possession
Home64%
Away36%
Shots
Home9
Away12
Shots on Target
Home5
Away4
Corners
Home3
Away8
Fouls
Home4
Away6

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Manchester United 3, Brentford 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Manchester United 3, Brentford 0.

  3. Post update

    Fred (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  4. Post update

    Foul by Ivan Toney (Brentford).

  5. Post update

    Attempt missed. Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United) right footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Edinson Cavani.

  6. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Mathias Jensen (Brentford) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

  7. Post update

    Offside, Manchester United. Cristiano Ronaldo tries a through ball, but Edinson Cavani is caught offside.

  8. Post update

    Corner, Brentford. Conceded by Diogo Dalot.

  9. Post update

    Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Mads Bech Sørensen.

  10. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Fred.

  11. Post update

    Attempt saved. Scott McTominay (Manchester United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Cristiano Ronaldo.

  12. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Christian Eriksen (Brentford) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Ivan Toney.

  13. Post update

    Corner, Brentford. Conceded by Phil Jones.

  14. Substitution

    Substitution, Brentford. Yoane Wissa replaces Bryan Mbeumo.

  15. Substitution

    Substitution, Manchester United. Phil Jones replaces Juan Mata.

  16. Substitution

    Substitution, Manchester United. Edinson Cavani replaces Anthony Elanga.

  17. Goal!

    Goal! Manchester United 3, Brentford 0. Raphaël Varane (Manchester United) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Alex Telles with a cross following a corner.

  18. Post update

    Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by David Raya.

  19. Substitution

    Substitution, Manchester United. Fred replaces Nemanja Matic.

  20. Substitution

    Substitution, Brentford. Josh Dasilva replaces Vitaly Janelt.

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