Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has praised Harry Maguire and Bruno Fernandes for their massive contributions which helped the team get over the line against Fulham at Craven Cottage.
A late goal from Fernandes provided some relief for Erik ten Hag who has been under pressure.
In defence, United largely had Maguire to thank for the side’s solidity at the back that secured a third clean sheet in the Premier League this season.
Speaking to TNT Sport (via The Mirror) after the final whistle, Ferdinand hailed the two players.
He said, “The captain stood up. We needed a big performance, we needed a goal. Critical time against Burnley after the Champions League defeat, he stepped up. Today they needed somebody to step out of the shadows and get into the spotlight. That was him. He took responsibility. A fantastic strike.”
“He (Maguire) deserves special mention as well. Head injury in the first couple of seconds of the game, battled his way through. It’s not about performances, there wasn’t a good performance there today. But they got the three points and that’s the most important thing.”
Ferdinand also addressed Rasmus Hojlund’s situation. The goalscorer cut a very lonely and frustrated figure up front as he had little to no service to pounce on.
When he was taken off, Hojlund was visibly angry and was spotted moaning and shaking his head on the bench.
Ferdinand explained that Hojlund is right to be disappointed because his teammates are neither playing to his strengths nor supporting him in terms of fashioning clear-cut goalscoring opportunities.
The Dane is yet to score in England’s top flight, although he has managed three goals in the Champions League this term.
Ferdinand remarked on the 20-year-old United star, “I wish we’d had a bit more time with Erik ten Hag [to discuss Hojlund] because he’s invested in a player we’re not seeing the best of. His best attributes are not being seen because the team aren’t playing to his strengths.”
“He [Ten Hag] said in his press conferences we want to play a bit more direct with players like Hojlund and Rashford who can play on the counter. Too many times they get wide and the quality is nowhere near good enough.”
“Antony doesn’t want to cross it, his first instinct is to see what he can do for himself. Marcus is more of a striker who wants to get on the end of things and see if he can finish. When he’s making his movements the ball is being delayed and isn’t coming into the areas.”
The 44-year-old TV pundit noted that in one instance during the match, Hojlund had made a brilliant darting run in anticipation of a cross from Alejandro Garnacho, but the Argentine’s cross never came.
As per Ferdinand, Hojlund’s case is not assisted by the fact that he is still so young and as such, does not possess the fortitude to ruffle a few feathers and demand more from his teammates.