Cavani can 'smell the goal' – Bruno Fernandes lauds Uruguayan's predatory instincts

AFP

Bruno Fernandes believes Edinson Cavani's ability to "smell the goal" was behind his match-winning display in Manchester United's 3-2 victory over Southampton on Sunday.

United trailed at the break courtesy of goals from Jan Bednarek and James Ward-Prowse, but the half-time introduction of Cavani proved the catalyst for United's eighth successive away league win, a new club record.

The Uruguay international teed up Fernandes to halve the deficit in the 60th minute, the midfielder now the fourth United player to net in five consecutive Premier League away games, before Cavani erased Southampton's lead with a diving header from the Portugal international's deflected strike.

The striker completed the turnaround in the second minute of stoppage time, stooping to meet Marcus Rashford's cross and move United to within three points of the top three, while also having a game in hand.

Cavani became the first United player to come off the bench and register three goal involvements in a Premier League game since United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer scored four against Nottingham Forest in 1999.

While the former Paris Saint-Germain striker could yet face a ban for using an offensive phrase in an Instagram post – which the Football Association is investigating – after the match, Fernandes was left impressed by Cavani's instinct on the pitch and believes there is even more to come from him.

"When you have strikers who move a lot, and they give you the chance to play balls for them, it is really good," he told Manchester United's official website. "I think every striker we have gives us options. I don't want to go on personally about Edi or another player because it's not fair, but of course Edi has qualities, everyone knows that.

"For me, he's one of those strikers that can smell the goal as you saw twice. He smelt the goal, you need to have this feeling to score these two goals.

"As I said some weeks and some months ago, Edi will help us and he is helping already. For me, one of the best games he played was against Istanbul Basaksehir in the Champions League and nobody talks about that because he didn't score but he played an amazing game.

"He helps a lot and he will help more and more in the future."

A blot on United's copybook at St Mary's Stadium was the knee injury suffered by goalkeeper David de Gea, the Spain international crashing into the post as he attempted to keep out Ward-Prowse's free-kick.

De Gea was replaced by Dean Henderson at the interval and will undergo tests on Monday to assess the extent of the damage, with Solskjaer hopeful he will be fit enough for United's Champions League clash with PSG on Wednesday.

"A knock just above the knee, so hopefully he'll be okay for Wednesday, but we don't know," he told MUTV.

"Let's have a little scan or check [on Monday], but Dean came on and looked very assured."


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