Bruno Fernandes sets future challenge for Man Utd after FA Cup final defeat

The Red Devils captain was in defiant mood after his side’s FA Cup final defeat against Manchester City.

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Bruno Fernandes has insisted Manchester United have ‘made the first steps for the future’ despite their FA Cup final defeat against cross-city rivals Manchester City.

The Portugal international helped his side recover from a nightmare start at Wembley after his penalty shortly before half-time cancelled out a stunning volley from City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan inside the opening 15 seconds of the game.

But it was the blue half of Manchester that were celebrating come full-time as Gundogan doubled his tally and gave his side a lead they would not let go when he got on the end of a Kevin De Bruyne corner-kick and volleyed beyond David de Gea.

Although the season has ended on a negative note for Fernandes and his United team-mates but they can reflect on making progress during Erik ten Hag’s first year in charge at Old Trafford after the former Ajax manager led his side back into the Champions League and to the Carabao Cup.

Discussing the defeat and the season as a whole, the Red Devils captain told BBC Sport: “Obviously everyone is down, it’s really difficult. We wanted to end the season in a different way but it wasn’t possible.

“We are aware that we have made the first steps for the future this season so obviously it’s not a successful season overall but it is a good season and we have to now look forward to getting our batteries back, to getting back next season and understanding it is still a long way to get in a better position to win bigger trophies.”

Fernandes praised the support his side have received from the United faithful throughout the season and he promised they would bounce back from their final defeat when the new season gets underway in August.

He said: “They have been all season. They truly deserve a different result today and the disappointment in the dressing room is that we couldn’t give the joy they deserve for what they have done through the entire season, all of the support they have given us. We are really grateful for everything they have been doing during the season and the only promise I can say is we will come again next season and try again.”