Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag had high praise for star midfielder Bruno Fernandes after last night’s 1-0 win over Real Betis.
Fernandes created four goalscoring chances in United’s win, and crucially, avoided a booking which would have seen him suspended for the quarter-final first leg.
The Portugal international had passed on the captaincy to regular skipper Harry Maguire with the England defender recalled to the starting line-up.
But regardless of this, Ten Hag felt Fernandes led by example with his performance in Spain.
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Ten Hag hails Fernandes
Erik ten Hag spoke after the game and had high praise for Fernandes, who leads United with assists this season, 13 in total.
He told the club website: “He is an example for the team. I think his performance once again [was brilliant], [as well as] in recent weeks, he’s in brilliant form.
“It looks like he’s getting better and better from game to game.”
Ten Hag also talked up Fernandes work ethic without the ball, along with his tactical flexibility.
He said: “He’s very strong; he’s very good at recovery first, so he is a really good athlete. He has so much energy, he can play in so many roles, for tactics [it is] brilliant for the team that he can play [these] roles.
“He is also very important in the counter-press and in the pressing; so his transition is a really fantastic skill for him.”
Fernandes also has eight goals this season in addition to his assists, taking his total goal contributions to 21 for the season.
He is a player who Erik ten Hag is clearly delighted to have at his disposal – that has been made clear by the volume of games he has played this season.
Last night was his 43rd club game of the season for the Red Devils, and there are plenty more left to come.