Erik ten Hag and Marcus Rashford have backed Bruno Fernandes following Sunday’s 7-0 loss at Liverpool, with the Manchester United midfielder coming in for heavy criticism after the game.
The Portugal international was faced a backlash from a number of pundits and reporters - including on ManchesterWorld - after he put in a petulant second half at Anfield. Fernandes failed to track back when Stefan Bajcetic skipped past him, feigned injury after Ibrahima Konate brushed his face, swotted away the referee’s assistant and regularly moaned at team-mates and officials.
It’s led to suggestions that Fernandes isn’t fit to captain United, with the 28-year-old often filling in for Harry Maguire this season when the first-choice skipper not in the team. But Ten Hag backed Fernandes on Wednesday and claimed he is ‘happy’ to have Fernandes wearn the armband, although added the former Sporting Lisbon man ‘must learn’ from his mistakes.
“Yes, definitely [he is captain material]. I think he is playing a brilliant season and he has a really important role why we are where in the position we are,” said the United boss. “He is brining energy to team, he is running a lot with a high intensity, but also in the right direction.
“He is pointing and coaching players and is an inspiration for the whole team. But no-one is perfect, everyone has mistakes. We have to learn - I have to learn and he has to learn. I am really happy to have Bruno Fernandes in my team and, if Harry Maguire is not on the pitch, that Bruno Fernandes is my captain.”
Meanwhile, Rashford described Fernandes as a ‘perfect player’ to share a dressing room with. “I love playing with Burno. For a forward like me he is the perfect player to play with. He has been a good leader for us, even when he is not a captain, which is always a good sign,” said the in-form attacker ahead of Thursday’s Europa League clash against Real Betis.
“He has helped other players become better leaders. The reality of it is that we can’t be a well-organised team with just one person being the captain. He’s done a lot for us in terms of bringing his leadership skills in, and that’s from the moment that he arrived. I don’t have anything negative to say about Bruno.
“As the manager said, no-one is perfect,” he added. “Sometimes you want to win that much that you do things out of character. But I 100 percent support Bruno and as a team I think we need to support him because he is a fantastic player. Like the boss said, we wouldn’t be in the position we’re in if it wasn’t playing games for us.”