Fernandes scored his second United goal when he converted from the spot in the 27th minute – three minutes and 40 seconds after it was awarded – when Simon Deli stuck his arm out at a Daniel James shot, with VAR intervening to confirm the decision.
The Portugal international was also the starting point for the next two goals, with Odion Ighalo (34) scoring for the first time in a United shirt on his first start before Scott McTominay (41) drove an effort home on his first start since Boxing Day.
It looked like Brugge would see out the second half without conceding, but two goals in the final 11 minutes compounded their misery. Both were scored by Fred too, turning home from a Jesse Lingard cut-back (82) before a thunderous second with the last kick of the game (90+3).
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have now gone seven games unbeaten in all competitions – with only Brugge scoring against them in the first leg during that run – and will discover their next opponents in the Europa League last-16 draw on Friday.
How Man Utd battered Brugge
It was a breathless start at Old Trafford, with both sides having their chances. Simon Mignolet made three brilliant saves, denying Juan Mata and Fernandes with the latter also have a shot sent just past the post by the goalkeeper’s fingertips. At the other end, David Okereke almost caught Harry Maguire out before Mats Rits lifted a shot just over the crossbar.
But from the 22nd minute onwards, it was all United. It was sparked by a penalty awarded when Deli threw his arm out to divert a James shot over the crossbar. The referee instantly pointed to the spot and showed the Brugge defender a straight red card, both of which were confirmed after a lengthy VAR check.