Erik ten Hag dismissed criticisms of Bruno Fernandes’ suitability for the position of Manchester United captain.
Ten Hag silences Bruno’s detractors.
Proclaims midfielder to be a “big leader.”.
Scored the game-winning goal against Aston Villa.
What Happened: Fernandes once again came through clutch for United as he scored the eventual winning goal in a 1-0 victory over Aston Villa on Sunday, despite suffering a knock in the FA Cup semifinals and continuing despite the discomfort. After the game, Ten Hag expressed his satisfaction with Fernandes, having given the Portuguese the armband once more and placing Harry Maguire on the bench.
What They Say: Ten Hag asserted, in a statement to Sky Sports, “He is so tough. It was absurd given his prominence as a leader when inquiries about his captaincy surfaced a few weeks ago.
He sets a good example for the team and exudes so much enthusiasm, drive, and resolve. You need such players if you want to take home victories and trophies. “.
After the victory over Villa, Fernandes told the media that he is still not fully fit.
I picked up a knock in the [FA Cup] semi-final, and it’s still bothering me a little bit, but I can play, and I can still help the team, and I’ll be there for the team when the manager needs me, he said.
The Bigger Picture: Since joining United in 2020, Fernandes has frequently assumed the armband when the regular captain is absent due to his significant contribution to the team. This season, with club captain Maguire playing a much smaller role, Fernandes has taken on the role of de facto team captain.
Despite concerns about his fitness, Fernandes was selected for the starting lineup despite being seen in a protective boot prior to United’s 2-2 midweek draw with Tottenham following their FA Cup semifinal victory over Brighton.
There is a chance that the Portugal international steps into the position permanently amid reports that Maguire might leave United this summer because he fears he won’t be able to return under Ten Hag. Although Fernandes scored the game-winning goal against Villa, there have been questions about his mentality because he frequently appears to be complaining to teammates and referees.
What Comes Next For Man Utd? On Thursday, Brighton will present the Red Devils with a challenging midweek test. Three days later, away at West Ham, Ten Hag’s team is scheduled to return to action.