United trailed the Serie A side by two goals at half-time after early goals from Mario Pasalic and Merih Demiral, putting Solskjaer under increasing pressure in his position.
That led to a rousing half-time with emotions running high in the dressing room and both the club’s players and coaching staff requiring a response.
The home side transformed their fortunes in the second half as goals from Marcus Rashford, Harry Maguire and Cristiano Ronaldo turned the game on its head as United won 3-2 in dramatic circumstances.
It was a result that could help transform United’s season or just paper over the cracks ahead of Sunday’s visit of Liverpool in the Premier League.
The discussion in the home dressing room at Old Trafford has now been revealed in which Fernandes requested that his position be changed by Solskjaer in the second half.
As detailed by The Sun, it was Cristiano Ronaldo who took the lead in discussions during the break, asking of his teammates: “Are you not ashamed?”
Solskjaer then gave a brief rallying talk in which he said that the game was not over and if United got the first goal in the second half, they would still be capable of winning the game.
Those words turned out to be prescient, with United roaring out of the blocks in the second period to blow the visitors away after Rashford had halved the deficit within seven minutes.
Yet Portuguese playmaker Fernandes also made his claim, telling Solskjaer that his role would be better served if he dropped deeper in the play and not be playing so far forward.
This worked Fernandes found space in the pocket of space behind Atalanta’s midfield before delivering a superb through ball for Rashford’s first goal and caused havoc in the second peiod.
The details of the dressing room talk are an indicator of how both Ronaldo and Fernandes are leaders in United’s dressing room.
Fernandes said after the game: “We have a lot to improve on and the coach also knows there has to be some improvement at their end but that is part of football.
“Every day we are learning something new. But football is the present and it’s the now.
“We fully support him. He’s our manager, we follow his ideas and believe in them.
“Of course players start to get a bit suspicious when they don’t play or when things don’t go well…
“But, honestly, footballers are annoying. We think we’re always right.
“Look, I can think one way is better and my team-mate can think the other way is the best one, so how could we decide which one is better?
“That’s why we have to follow the manager’s ideas. His ideas might be right or wrong, but we’re sticking with it until the end.”