Ten Hag takes firm stance on Fernandes and backs him as Man Utd captain despite criticism
Erik ten Hag has backed Bruno Fernandes as the Manchester United captain following the criticism he received after the Liverpool defeat.
The Man United manager has stuck by the Portuguese playmaker who has grabbed plenty of headlines because of his antics at Anfield.
Fernandes has been an important player under Ten Hag and his ability this season cannot be called into question.
However, plenty of fans and pundits alike have questioned whether he is the right person to lead Man United in the absence of Harry Maguire.
“Yes, definitely [still captain], I think he’s playing a brilliant season, he’s played an important role in the position that we are,” Ten Hag explained in his press conference (via Manchester Evening News).
“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.”
The Portuguese midfielder has produced 11 goal contributions in the Premier League this season with five goals and six assists to his name.
He certainly wasn’t the only player to blame during United’s 7-0 defeat at Anfield, but he did take the brunt of the criticism.
Ten Hag is keen to move on from the Liverpool result now as his side turns their attention to the Europa League in midweek.
“Yes, the players reflected well,” Ten Hag added. “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.”
United’s slim title chances went up in smoke with the Liverpool loss, but they still stand a chance of winning two more trophies this season.
After they managed to get the better of Barcelona, Ten Hag’s side are being tipped as one of the favourites to win the Europa League, along with Arsenal.
United still stand a chance of winning the FA Cup and they are in pole position to finish in the top four in the league.
The Liverpool defeat was a huge setback for Ten Hag and his side, but all is not lost for United this season.
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