Home » Bruno Fernandes’ Euro 2020 performances defended on social media

Bruno Fernandes’ Euro 2020 performances defended on social media

by Scott Eckersley

Within minutes of Portugal’s elimination from Euro 2020, the sharpened knives had already come out for Bruno Fernandes.

It’s true that the midfield talisman didn’t have a great tournament and the Sqawka stats that were dropped with merciless aplomb pretty much summed up his modest contribution to a flagging national side:

Bruno Fernandes was dribbled past three times against #BEL, more than any other #POR player.

He only came on in the 55th minute.’

and…

Bruno Fernandes‘ #EURO2020 by numbers:

205 minutes played
6 chances created
6 times dribbled past
4 shots
1 shot on target
0/3 take-ons completed
0 goals
0 assists’

Yet, it’s ironic that a man who is often criticised for stat-padding by rival fans should end up being damned by stats alone following an entire team’s dismal failure at a major championships.

Criticism is something Fernandes has faced down for much of the last calendar year. It’s a year that has seen the United star play a frankly ridiculous 83 games in all competitions, a workload that would stretch even the fittest of players.

However, buried among the predictable schadenfreude, there was context and nuance to be found.

The Peoples Person started the ball rolling, Tweeting:

‘Seeing so much Bruno slander on Twitter. Hilarious. Just glad he now gets to genuinely rest, played over 80 games for club and country in the last calendar year. Can’t wait to see him bag another 20+ goals next season and to see more attempts at taking some shine away from him.’

The Athletic’s Laurie Whitwell noticed that Fernandes had made a difference when he was introduced from the bench:

Bruno Fernandes made a difference when he came on. Not everything went right – shooting mainly, occasionally on different wavelength to team-mates – but he created chances, hit some quality passes + sprinted everywhere.

From MUFC perspective: much needed rest now.’

Another Twitter user commented on Fernandes’ possible burnout and the need for Ole Gunnar Solksjaer to better protect his flagging stars next season:

‘Fernandes on the bench for Portugal. I fear he’s suffering from burnout, along with the rest of the United players on international duty.

‘Solskjaer needs to rotate the squad a little better, or we’ll not get through next season.’

Meanwhile Paddy Power questioned Fernandes omission from the Portugal starting lineup:

‘Amazing to see Bruno Fernandes on the bench, meanwhile both Renato Sanches, an abject failure during his loan at Swansea, and Joao Moutinho, a 47 year old Wolves player, are starting ahead of him.’

United fans will already have spotted signs of fatigue towards the end of the club season. The midfield hotshot had started to become slightly less productive and his constant desire to press opposition defences had started to look more hopeful than expectant.

In short, his mental commitment was being undermined by the realities of what his body could endure.

100% commitment is an essential part of Bruno’s game. Aside from the skill, vision and effectiveness, it’s his astonishing work-rate that really stands out during games.

But playing with maximum intensity for over 80 games in a calendar year is an unenviable burden for even the fittest of players and, eventually, something has to give.

Hopefully he can get some much-needed rest and come back into a replenished United side that allows him the regular breaks he needs to remain such a potent and dynamic player.

It’s the least he deserves for running through the pain barrier on so many fronts, for so long.

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