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Ten Hag backs ‘important’ Fernandes and says Man Utd have to ‘bounce back’ from Liverpool loss

Erik ten Hag has said that Manchester United need to ‘bounce back’ from their humiliation against Liverpool, and has given his backing to Bruno Fernandes.

Manchester United host Real Betis on Thursday evening in the UEFA Europa, the Red Devils looking to bounce back from their 7-0 capitulation against Liverpool at the weekend.

 

Asked about the reaction to the loss, Erik ten Hag said his side must ‘reset and bounce back’ before insisting he didn’t feel that the player let him down.

“We have to set conclusions and we talked about [it]. We have seen the game, we have to reset and bounce back,” he told his pre-match press conference.

“No [the players didn’t let me down], we are in the same boat, we do it together. We win and lose together. We made a mess on Sunday and we have to deal with that.”

Asked about the reaction of his players since the defeat, Ten Hag urged his side to use the lessons from Sunday’s loss.

“Yes, the players reflected well,” he said. “We also know in a season setbacks will always be there. This was a huge setback, clear, but we had a run with 23 games with one loss and that was the second.

“It had a lot of lessons in it and it can help us in the future. We were really below average, especially mentality-wise. We want to win trophies and you have to act different. After Sunday, we got a big lesson, we take it and we have to move on, look forward. Use all the energy and focus on the next game.”

Bruno Fernandes’ behaviour and attitude during that defeat have been widely criticised, with the Portuguese feigning injury, pushing the officials, and generally cutting a frustrated figure.

Fernandes has been the Red Devils’ stand-in captain in the absence of Harry Maguire, and the Dutchman insisted he will continue to wear the armband, saying he is ‘really happy’ to have him in the team.

“Yes, definitely [still captain], I think he’s playing a brilliant season, he’s played an important role in the position that we are. He’s giving energy to the team, running a lot with intensity, in the right way. He’s pointing and coaching players, he’s an inspiration for the whole team.

“No one is perfect, everyone makes mistakes. I’m really happy to have Bruno Fernandes in my team and I’m happy with him as our captain with Harry not on the pitch.”

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