Bruno Fernandes answered his critics in the Manchester derby with a goal from the penalty spot but insisted his celebration was not a subtle dig at his detractors but a message of thanks to his family.
The Portugal international has enjoyed a stellar campaign for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, but has faced criticism for failing to make a decisive impact against elite level opposition.
Prior to Sunday’s trip to the Etihad, Fernandes’ only goal against fellow members of the established ‘Big Six’ had come from the penalty spot in an infamous 6-1 defeat against Tottenham earlier this season.
The 26-year-old defended his record in an interview which drew ire from Roy Keane prior to the match with the former United captain branding Fernandes ‘a baby’.
The former Sporting Lisbon star, however, got his side off to the best possible start on Sunday, converting another spot kick after Gabriel Jesus had needlessly brought down Anthony Martial inside two minutes.
After narrowly beating Ederson from 12 yards, Fernandes wheeled away in celebration sucking his thumb, before placing his hands over his ears.
Asked aftwerwards to clarify the significance of his celebration, Fernandes told Sky Sports: ‘It’s for my kids. Most people know my kids are the best of my life.
‘Every time I score it is for both of them and of course also for my wife for supporting me in this difficult period.
‘I know everyone thinks it’s a bit more easy to play training play but sometimes it’s tough and for the support they give me in this difficult period is for them.’
‘Scoring in the first minute was perfect, we had more space to counter. We remained focused until the end of the game,’ Fernandes added. ‘When we defend well we know we’ll have chances to score.
‘It’s always difficult to play against Manchester City. They are difficult on the ball and tough to play against. Today we did almost everything perfect. It’s not about winning against City, it’s about winning every game.’