Home » Bruno Fernandes owes ‘protective’ Erik ten Hag as United boss stands by ‘inspirational’ midfielder

Bruno Fernandes owes ‘protective’ Erik ten Hag as United boss stands by ‘inspirational’ midfielder

by Adam Leadbeater

Bruno Fernandes says he owes manager Erik ten Hag for standing by him in the aftermath of Manchester United’s 7-0 battering by Liverpool in March.

The Portuguese playmaker was heavily criticised following the game by numerous pundits, including Gary Neville, who labelled his display “an embarrassment.”

The former United Captain accused Fernandes of playacting and petulant complaining throughout the shambolic showing at Anfield.

Ex-Premier League forward Chris Sutton also insisted that the midfielder should not be allowed to captain the side again.

The Portugal international is expected to lead United out at Wembley on Saturday to face Manchester City in the FA Cup final, with club skipper Harry Maguire likely named amongst the substitutes.

Ten Hag has previously called Fernandes “an inspiration” with the player himself feeling he has the manager’s full support.

“I’m aware that he’s really happy with the way I train, the way I play, the way I show my emotions and the way I show my passion for the game.” Fernandes explains. “But I will never do anything to make the team look bad, make my team-mates look bad, or something that is not good for the team. He knows that, so that’s why it protects me.”

Ten Hag continued to back his player, even after the mauling by Liverpool and an incident late in the game that saw Fernandes appear to make contact with an assistant referee although he was not charged.

“I think that’s good because he shows you the respect, he shows you the protection.” Fernandes continued. “But always with the demands behind that because obviously when you protect someone you want them to give you some back, so he can have his reasons to protect you.”

However, whilst Ten Hag shows his players support, the Dutchman still demands they take ownership of their actions.

There are suggestions he has met with Fernandes to discuss the source of any displeasure and aims to build trust by keeping those matters private.

“He has called me to his office two or three times and said ‘look, we have to change this,” Fernandes insists. “I think you could do it in a different way’. We had many conversations this season.”

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