Bruno Fernandes awards Daniel James ‘assist’ despite joking Manchester United winger meant to control ball

Bruno Fernandes has joked that his second goal against Real Sociedad came courtesy of a poor touch from team-mate Daniel James.

The Portuguese attacker swept home from the edge of the area after initially dummying a pass which ran through to Welsh winger James, whose attempted touch into his own path actually bobbled back through into Fernandes’ path – and he didn’t hesitate to take advantage.

That was his second of the Europa League last-32 match, which ended 4-0 in favour of the Red Devils after Marcus Rashford added another and James himself wrapped up the win late on.

“I was expecting the touch from Dan James to me,” Fernandes said on BT Sport. “When he controlled the ball, I think he was trying to control it, but I’ll give him an assist!

“I saw the ball close to me and I think on these occasions the keeper is coming out, if you kick it well on the first touch it’s difficult to react and luckily for me it was a goal.”

Those strikes take Fernandes’ tally for the season to 21 in all competitions, while James was indeed credited with the assist on official statistical data – his first one for United this season in any match.

James has struggled for game time this term, featuring in only 12 fixtures for a combined total of just over 600 minutes.

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He filled the right-sided role for United against La Real and will hope for more game time in the second leg, with the Red Devils already virtually assured of qualification for the last-16.

Mason Greenwood has often been the player Ole Gunnar Solskjaer chooses to play that position this season, though former United midfielder Paul Scholes feels the teenager should be employed at centre-forward in future.

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