Manchester United lost 3-1 against Aston Villa yesterday at Villa Park in what was a below-par performance from the Red Devils.
United fell to three goals from Leon Bailly, Lucas Digne and Jacob Ramsay.
On a day when United lacked creativity and inventiveness, it served to highlight the importance of Bruno Fernandes, the club’s primary creative force.
Fernandes was suspended after he picked up a booking against West Ham. In his absence, Cristiano Ronaldo captained the side.
Speaking after the game, the United boss gave his rationale for naming Ronaldo as the captain – a decision that many questioned.
Ronaldo has been poor this season both on and off the pitch, with his public storming off against Tottenham exposing cracks in the player’s relationship with Ten Hag.
On why he trusted the 37-year-old with the armband, Ten Hag said, “Cristiano is the leader, especially [he] is the leader of the team so he has the band, clear.”
The Dutch coach named two other surprising candidates that could have been bestowed the captaincy honour before he eventually settled on Ronaldo.
“Casemiro is the leader, Licha [Martinez] can be a leader. Casemiro is not speaking 100% perfect English.”
David de Gea is another who came to the fore in Ten Hag’s comments as a possible alternative captain pick.
It speaks volumes about the characters of Martinez and Casemiro that just months after arriving at Old Trafford they are already being spoken of as the leaders of the team and can be trusted as Ten Hag’s lieutenants.
The pair have been solid so far and while they may not have been as excellent against Unai Emery’s side, one cannot help but think they will both be back to their swashbuckling selves in the next game.