Erik ten Hag comes to Bruno Fernandes’ defence amid criticism after Liverpool debacle

Just like his manager, star centre-forward Marcus Rashford has also extended his support to Bruno Fernandes.

Bruno Fernandes with Manchester United in a file photo; Credit: Twitter/@B_Fernandes8
By Karthik Raman | Mar 8, 2023 | 3 Min Read follow icon Follow Us


The fifth of March 2023 will be one that every Manchester United supporter would like to forget as soon as possible. The Red Devils were destroyed by Liverpool 7-0 at Anfield – a result no one saw coming. Heading into the game, United had the form on their side, while Jurgen Klopp’s side were struggling in the Premier League. It was not all bad from Man United, as they matched Liverpool toe-to-toe in the first half. However, the second-half collapse was beyond any United fan’s worst nightmare. The visitors conceded six goals in 45 minutes to leave the traveling supporters shellshocked.

Losing a match of this magnitude in such a manner invited plenty of criticism from pundits and supporters around the world. Bruno Fernandes, who wore the captain armband on that day, received the most flak. Not only his performance was question but so was his attitude, particularly in the second half. Few went as far as suggesting that Fernandes should no longer captain the side. The Portuguese playmaker wears the captain armband only when club skipper Harry Maguire is not playing.

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Erik ten Hag backs Bruno Fernandes to be the captain

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has brushed aside those criticism and backed the midfielder, who has already contributed to 18 goal involvements in 40 matches this season. The manager was speaking to the media ahead of Real Betis’ visit to Old Trafford for a first-leg encounter in the round of 16. Asked whether Fernandes would continue to wear the armband for the club, ten Hag replied, “Yes, definitely. I think he is playing a brilliant season. He [occupies] a really important role, [which is] why we are in the position where we are because he is giving energy to the team.”

“He is not only running a lot and in the highest intensity, but also in the right way, in the right direction and he is pointing and coaching players. He is an inspiration for the whole team but no-one is perfect. Everyone has his mistakes and everyone has to learn. I have to learn and he will learn as well because he is intelligent. So I am really happy to have Bruno Fernandes in my team and I am really happy that Bruno Fernandes – if Harry is not on the pitch – is our captain.”

Marcus Rashford extends support to Bruno Fernandes

Just like his manager, star centre-forward Marcus Rashford has also extended his support to Bruno Fernandes. Even though Sunday night against Liverpool might not have gone according to the plan, Rashford and Fernandes partnership has been fruitful this season. Manchester United have defied the odds to be sitting at the third spot in the Premier League, while also staying in contention in the Europa League and the FA Cup. Not to mention that United have already won a trophy in the form of Carabao Cup.

“I love playing with Bruno, as you can imagine. For a forward like me, he’s the perfect player to play with,” he stated. “I think he’s been a good leader for us, even when he’s not been captain, which is always a good sign. He’s helped other players become better leaders. The reality of it is, we can’t be a well organised team with just one leader being the captain. He has done a lot for us in terms of bringing leadership skills in and that was from the moment he arrived.”

He added: “I don’t have anything negative to say about Bruno. Like the manager said, no-one is perfect. Sometimes you want to win so bad you end up doing things that are a little bit out of character. I 100 per cent support Bruno and I am behind him. As a team we have to support him because he is a fantastic player and like the boss said, we wouldn’t be in the position we are in if he wasn’t playing games for us.”



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