Manchester United boss Erik Ten Hag has reiterated his support for his under-fire captain Bruno Fernandes ahead of the Red Devils Premier League clash with Southampton on Sunday.
Despite playing a huge part in what has been a season of progression under Ten Hag, Fernandes has come in for some fierce criticism from fans and pundits after his abysmal and, at times, petulant performance during Manchester United‘s disastrous 7-0 defeat at Anfield last weekend.
Bruno has skippered the side for the majority of the season – with club captain Harry Maguire struggling for game time – and there have even been calls for Ten Hag to strip the Portuguese playmaker of the captaincy.
Fernandes responded in the best way possible by bagging a goal and an assist in his side’s 4-1 Europa League win over Real Betis last night, and Ten Hag has insisted that United’s number 8 just needs to learn how to channel his ’emotion’ in a better way going forward.
Ten Hag has also tipped Fernandes to use this experience to become a better player and the Dutch coach has insisted that he will be there to support the player’s development.
“I think he showed big personality by giving this performance on Thursday, leading the team, so it was brilliant,” Ten Hag told his pre-match press conference.
No player made more key passes than Bruno Fernandes tonight (5). He created as many as the entire Real Betis team combined.
Portuguese Magnifico. 🇵🇹🪄 pic.twitter.com/J6BZl9LiWy
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) March 9, 2023
“I think he has so much skills and now scoring with his head from a corner.
“He scores with his right, with his left, with his head, he is creating with final passes. Of course he is very happy when he scores a goal because that’s important.
“Then you can celebrate and he did together with his fans.”
“I said I am very pleased with his captaincy because he has given the team energy.
“He is not only giving the physical output, the best of the whole team, but also he is running in the right direction and he is pointing players in that direction.
“He is coaching players, he is leading the team in the tactical perspective.
“His emotion is his weapon but sometimes it’s too strong and, yes, of course I help him, I support him and I give him feedback. Sometimes he has to show more to control emotions.
“He has to find the balance when to use the right show as a tool and when to use emotion as a tool. That is the next step. It is a nice development point for him and when he does it, he will be an even better player.”