Bruno Fernandes put in an exceptional performance against Real Betis in yesterday’s 1-0 win over Real Betis, to secure Manchester United’s passage into the Europa League quarterfinals.
Many will have assumed that the Portugal star would sit out the fixture, given that he was just one yellow card away from a suspension.
However Erik ten Hag had faith in his vice-captain to make an impact and keep himself out of trouble and, by avoiding making a single foul all match, Bruno showed his maturity.
That did not stop him from engaging in challenges, as helped defensively by winning possession back for him team six times.
And it would not have been a Bruno Fernandes performance without his signature creative spark.
He made more key passes than any other player on the pitch with four, two of which were laid out perfectly for Marcus Rashford.
Of course, Rashford did not score on either occasion, preferring instead to ripple the net from range with a thunderous strike.
But that takes nothing away from Fernandes’ decisive passing ability and he was always looking to create opportunities for his teammates.
He played seven long balls and seven crosses in addition to his threaded passes, yet still retained an 80% passing accuracy despite Betis’ aggressive closing down of the playmaker.
Bruno Fernandes has at times come in for criticism for his somewhat rash behaviour on the pitch, but against Manuel Pellegrini’s side, he was a cool head and avid creator.
Erik ten Hag will be pleased to have his star midfielder available for the Europa League quarterfinals.
And today, at 12pm GMT, he will find out who Manchester United must face to progress once more.
(All stats are taken from SofaScore)
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