Erik ten Hag has praised Bruno Fernandes for handing Marcus Rashford the ball to take a crucial penalty against Everton on Sunday.
Fernandes joined manager Erik ten Hag at the pre-match press conference ahead of tomorrow’s Champions League tie against Galatasaray and was asked whether he had decided in advance to make the gesture or whether it was a spur of the moment decision.
“No. was in the moment;” he replied.
“I thought that Marcus needed his first goal. He’s such an important player for us, he hasn’t scored in the Premier League this season yet, but last year he was our top scorer, so we know it’s important … strikers, wingers sometimes they need this first goal and after that they go on to get more and more goals.
“So we need our strikers and wingers to be in the positions to score goals and to have the confidence to score them.”
A question then came in for Ten Hag about how he felt about Fernandes giving Rashford the penalty, but the player cut in to answer it.
“We have a list of penalty takers and there is no number for the penalty takers who is going to be first, second or third,” Fernandes said.
“It’s been myself because in the last few years it’s always been me but when I arrived at the club, Marcus was always the penalty taker, he was injured when I arrived so I started taking the penalties. So he was always respectful on the side of ‘you’re doing it now, you’re doing it well, so keep going’.
“It’s not important who takes it because the manager puts the paper out there with the penalty takers and the two names for that game it was me and Marcus so we can decide that, it doesn’t have to always be Bruno, it doesn’t always have to be Marcus.
“It’s 50-50 every time, I could have taken the penalty and missed.”
Ten Hag then intervened.
“It’s not 50-50,” he laughed. “With them, with Rashy and Bruno, we’re confident they’ll score. And I want to emphasise, it’s great leadership, if you understand that your teammate needs a goal and you have confidence in each other to give the penalty away.”