Varane's bench-warming role continues, Maguire shows his heart

THE NOTEBOOK: Raphael Varane’s intriguing bench-warming role continues, Fulham fans make their concerns over ticket prices heard and there’s NO questioning Harry Maguire’s heart

  • Manchester United secured a 1-0 win over Fulham deep into stoppage time
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Manchester United secured a hugely important 1-0 win deep into added time over Fulham to relieve some of the growing pressure at Old Trafford. 

The Red Devils came into the game on the back of back-to-back 3-0 defeats at home and were in desperate need of a result and a performance to match in west London. 

While they got the result – thanks to captain Bruno Fernandes’ late winner – they did not quite get the showing to match, and were largely unimpressive against a Fulham side that caused little trouble for the visitors themselves. 

Yet that will be of little import to the under-fire Dutch manager, as he looks to build momentum ahead of a brutal run of fixtures, starting with a Champions League trip to Copenhagen on Wednesday.  

Here, Mail Sport’s Sami Mokbel takes you through some of the stories from Craven Cottage that you may have missed on Saturday.  

A win for Manchester United against Fulham kept the wolves from Erik ten Hag’s door temporarily

Bruno Fernandes struck in added time to end United’s run of back-to-back 3-0 defeats in all competitions

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Ten Hag keeps the wolves away a little longer 

If Erik ten Hag is on borrowed time then there’s been little indication of an imminent departure behind the scenes in recent weeks.

Of course, results will dictate the under-fire Dutchman’s future, this win will keep the wolves from the door at least until they face Copenhagen on Wednesday.

But Ten Hag has remained a key figure in the club’s long-term planning of the playing squad.

The United boss continues to have a significant input on transfer targets ahead of what is gearing up to be a crucial January window for United.

Similarly, Ten Hag has also made recommendations with regards to contract renewals for members of the existing squad in recent days.

For now, Ten Hag remains at the wheel and the powers-that-be at Old Trafford would prefer it to stay that way until at least Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s 25 percent buyout is cleared.

Varane’s intriguing bench-warming role continues 

Raphael Varane was absent from Manchester United’s starting XI again here at Craven Cottage.

His recent bench role is all rather intriguing. The World Cup winner’s omission in last weekend’s 3-0 Manchester derby loss was explained as ‘tactical’.

Varane was said to be suffering with illness against Newcastle on Wednesday. Here at Fulham, Mail Sport was led to believe that his substitute role was down to having an eye on Wednesday’s crucial Champions League game in Copenhagen.

Sources have indicated that Varane has been suffering with a minor injury in recent weeks – although Ten Hag has not divulged any such information.

If Varane isn’t selected in Denmark then tongues will really start wagging.

Rafael Varane was once again left on the bench by Ten Hag, with some reports suggesting he has had a slight niggle in recent weeks

Fulham fans show their displeasure 

Fulham supporters used the high-profile visit of United to protest against rising ticket costs at the club.

In the 18th minute fans held up yellow cards that read ‘Please Don’t Price Us Out’ – a symbolic gesture in response to the overall adult season ticket prices rising 18 per cent in the last year.

Individual match tickets for this Premier League game cost as much as £160 for seats in the Riverside Stand. Season tickets now total as much as £3,000.

Ahead of kick-off supporters also marched outside Craven Cottage with a banner that read: ‘W£ CAN’T AFFORD TO PRIC£ OUT FANS’.

Fulham fans showed their displeasure at rising ticket prices in the Riverside Stand on Saturday

Agony for emotional Muniz 

Rodrigo Muniz was inconsolable as he hobbled off with an injury inside the final 15 minutes.

The Fulham forward was in tears after slipping on the turf before immediately clutching his knee.

Hopefully for the Brazilian the injury isn’t too serious – but his reaction suggests otherwise.

Battling Maguire is one of United’s heroes 

Say what you like about Harry Maguire’s value as a defender – but you cannot question the guy’s heart.

Harry Maguire was one of the better performers for United despite struggling with a possible injury

The England defender suffered an early blow to the head and was extensively examined for signs of concussion by United’s recently appointed doctor Gary O’Driscoll which eventually saw five minutes of first half stoppage time played.

He was thoroughly checked out again in the second half, with Maguire looking particularly dazed.

Yet in true Maguire fashioned, he battled on and was one of United’s heroes.

United fans unfurled a banner that read ‘Play like you mean it’ at Craven Cottage on Saturday. That doesn’t apply to Maguire.

United fans unfurled a banner that read ‘Play like you mean it’ at Craven Cottage on Saturday


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