Manchester United midfielder Bruno Fernandes was delighted by Friday's 2-1 win over Aston Villa that place them level on points with leaders Liverpool, but said his side has to learn to kill clubs off to sustain a good Premier League title challenge.
United stretched their unbeaten group run to 10 matches with Fernandes netting the winner from the penalty identify after Bertrand Traore possessed cancelled out the house side's opener from Anthony Martial.
United largely managed the overall game but Paul Pogba, Fernandes and Marcus Rashford failed to drive home their gain.
In the dying mins, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side were forced to defend desperately with centre back Eric Bailly investing in a crucial stoppage-time block to deny Villa a draw.
"It was tough. We need to learn from this," Fernandes advised reporters after the game. "We need to manage the overall game much better. We had some scenarios to close the game, you possess to try to score because we realize that clubs can score. If we close the overall game early it is best. It is normally better. We need to manage this."
Pogba put in a solid performance in midfield, starting the approach for Martial's opener before winning the key penalty.
Fernandes is confident the France World Cup winner will continue steadily to deliver strong performances. "Everybody knows the qualities he features. It isn't in doubt here. He'll give a growing number of with the confidence he gets video game after video game," Fernandes said.
United up coming face Manchester City in the semi-final of the Group Cup in Wednesday. Meanwhile, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer stopped brief of saying his area had been title contenders after a hard-fought 2-1 home win over Aston Villa.
Liverpool visit Southampton and United travel to Burnley before a mouth-watering clash at Anfield on the subject of Jan. 17, albeit in front of eerily empty terraces.