Saturday, 14 August 2021 16:31

Bruno Fernandes scores hat trick as Manchester United thrash Leeds.

Staff Reporter.

Bruno Fernandes scored an opening-day hat-trick as Manchester United swept Leeds aside with a devastating second-half display.

The Portugal midfielder opened the scoring on the half-hour mark at a packed Old Trafford, but Luke Ayling's thunderous strike drew Leeds level early in the second half.

Mason Greenwood restored the hosts' lead with a crisp finish less than two minutes later, before Fernandes' low shot was ruled to have crossed the line by referee Paul Tierney after a check of goalline technology.

"We know the quality of the players who have come in, but the team was already very good. We showed it last season. We didn't win trophies, but the team was growing up," Fernandes said after the game.

"Our focus has to be game by game. We'll achieve something with this mentality."

The 26-year-old quickly completed his hat-trick with a thumping finish from Victor Lindelof's pass, before Fred added United's fourth goal in 14 minutes from Paul Pogba's cross - the Frenchman's fourth assist of the afternoon.

It was Fernandes' first hat-trick since he moved to Old Trafford in January 2020 and only the second by a Red Devils player since Robin van Persie's title-winning effort against Aston Villa in 2013.

"My objective every season is being better than the last one. Every performance I do, I want to do better and better. I've started with three goals but it's a long way [to go]," Fernandes said.

But the game was also a personal triumph for Pogba.

The France midfielder's future has been the subject of intense debate as he enters the final year of his contract.

But his four assists included a sublime pass for Greenwood's goal, and he left the field to a standing ovation 15 minutes from time as £74m new-boy Jadon Sancho was introduced for his debut.

"People talk about the quality of Paul, but his quality is not in discussion. We know what he can do and today he showed that," Fernandes said.

"He's an important player for us. We know to expect these kind of performances from Paul."

Fernandes' last hat-trick was for Sporting Lisbon in an 8-1 hammering of Belenenses in front of just over 5,000 in May 2019.