The Red Devils were lucky to have secured their first win of the 2020/2021 season with a 3-2 win over the Seagulls.
The hosts took the lead five minutes before halftime from the penalty spot thanks to Neal Maupay, but United hit back three minutes later when Lewis Dunk put through his own goal.
The visitors went ahead after Marcus Rashford’s brilliant solo goal ten minutes after the break, and Brighton thought they had snatched a deserved point when Solly March headed home to level the score at 2-2 in the fifth minute of added time.
But Fernandes scored from the spot after Maupay was adjudged to have blocked Harry Maguire's goal-bound header with his arm at the death.
Speaking after the game, Solskjaer admitted Brighton, who hit the post five times during the game, deserved a point at least.
“We got away with one. Maybe one point we deserved, we didn't deserve more. But the character deserved more,” the former Cardiff City manager told BT Sports.
"Last season we had too many draws, so that is a big plus for us. You have to be happy Jose is not here to measure the goal posts.
"They are a difficult team to play against. We don't have the legs and sharpness but we will get there. We have plenty of work ahead."